This Week West Bengal: Didi’s enthusiasm leaves Cong coldhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/this-week-west-bengal-didis-enthusiasm-leaves-cong-cold/

This Week West Bengal: Didi’s enthusiasm leaves Cong cold

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s assessment of her government,100 out of 100,has been contradicted by her alliance partner

Didi’s enthusiasm leaves Cong cold

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s assessment of her government,100 out of 100,has been contradicted by her alliance partner. A Congress report card on the government’s first year has highlighted grey areas. The party has mocked the state finance minister for frequent complaints about not getting Central assistance,which it has called an attempt at a cover-up for a poor performance. “No long-term plan has been placed so far by the state finance minister to combat the grave debt situation,” it has observed. The PCC has also accused its partner of double standards,saying Congress leaders at the Centre consult their Trinamool allies on every crucial issue but Congress leaders in the state are never consulted on anything. The state Congress had sought a coordination forum for such discussions but said the Trinamool ignored the demand.

Left not impressed either

The Left Front too has launched an attack on the government as it celebrates it first year,accusing it of wasting Rs 20 crore public money on a publicity campaign instead of promoting austerity in such hard times. It was referring to the Pragati Utsab (festival of progress) on the Milan Mela ground to showcase the government’s achievements. The Left Front has hit back against the government’s claim that the Left regime had ruined the state’s finances — the Trinamool’s ground for seeking a Central bailout. The CPM-led Left Front has dared the government to call for elections right now if it is so confident about its performance in the first year,considering that it has given itself 100 out of 100.

Face-off vs ally & rival

In its first big test since coming to power,the Trinamool Congress will face off against Congress candidates in elections to six municipal bodies on June 3. Haldia,Panskura,Dhupguri,Durgapur,Panskura and Nalhati will all see triangular contests,which can only give the advantage to the Left Front. In Haldia,its strongest base since the Nandigram firing,the Trinamool is also set back by infighting,leaving the CPM optimistic despite the fact that its strong-man Lakshman Seth,who usually handles election affairs there,is now in jail for his alleged involvement in that 2007 firing. There is infighting in Nalhati too. Both the Left Front and the Congress have alleged before the state election authorities that the Trinamool is trying to terrorise voters.

More for minorities

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After announcing a monthly stipend for imams and muezzins,the government has promised a bill that will ensure the much-debated minority sub-quota in OBC reservation. The stipend has already run into opposition with a case filed in the Calcutta High Court demanding a similar incentive for priests of other religions; the government’s argument has been that imams help implement various government programmes in minority-dominated villages. A bill on a minority sub-quota had been introduced during the Left regime,too,but Mamata Banerjee claims that bill was defective and therefore failed to secure the governor’s nod. The government says the bill it will now place will be based on a detailed survey it claims to have conducted.