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Mamata government killed Kishenji: Abhishek Banerjee

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Kolkata, triggering a fresh controversy, Trinamool Congress member of parliament Abhishek Banerjee on Friday said the government headed by his aunt Mamata Banerjee killed Communist Party of India (Maoist) leader Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji. Abhishek_Banerjee_at_N24_parganas_Yuva_Convention

“During the four year rule (of the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool government), only one person has died (in Jangalmahal). He is Maoist leader Kishenji. By killing him the Mamata Banerjee government has proved that people will have the last word,” the young leader said at a public meeting in West Midnapore district’s Belpahari.

The remarks ran counter to the chief minister’s earlier claim that Kishenji had not been killed in a pre-planned way.

“You know that we did not eliminate Kishenji in a planned way. That took place in a certain situation. I was then in Delhi. The police did not know about the death either. Had they come to know, then they would have announced it earlier,” Banerjee had told reporters at the state secretariat here months after Kishenji’s death.

“We do not want any death, whether it is of a common man or any opposition. But that thing (Kishenji’s killing in encounter) had occurred,” She had said.

Kishenji, a CPI (Maoist) politburo member, got killed in what the government claimed was an encounter with the security forces at Burisole village in the state’s West Midnapore district in November, 2011.

(IANS)

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West Bengal celebrates Bangla Nababarsho (Bengali New year) by reopening Iconic single screens

"When we talk about Minar, Bijoli and Chhabighar there is a lump in our throat. We had been associated with Bengali cinema for ages, from Uttam-Suchitra blockbusters in the '60S and '70s to Tarun Majumder movies starring Rituparna Sengupta in early 2000 to Jeet-Koel starrers in the recent past,"

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Bengali Cinema,Wikimedia Commons

Kolkata, Apr 15, 2017: Bengal celebrates ‘Bangla Nababarsho’ (Bengali New year) on Saturday by re-opening three iconic single screens which had been part of its film heritage for a long time.

“Bijoli and Chhabighar, a part of the psyche of the Bengali film audience and the industry, started their shows on Chaitra Sankranti day (the last day of the last Bengali month) yesterday as Friday is the release date of new film, after renovating the interiors, projection and sound system in sync with modern trends.

“Minar, the third one of the chain, will screen films from early next week as some patch work after renovation remains incomplete,” Suranjan Pal, owner of the chain told, mentioned PTI.

The action is receiving a huge support as a long line of audiences could be seen to for a new Bengali film released on ‘Nabobarsho’.

“Many single screens have been shut down or changed to plexes over the past few years. But when we talk about Minar, Bijoli and Chhabighar there is a lump in our throat. We had been associated with Bengali cinema for ages, from Uttam-Suchitra blockbusters in the ’60S and ’70s to Tarun Majumder movies starring Rituparna Sengupta in early 2000 to Jeet-Koel starrer in the recent past,” Pal said.

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“We had never felt that the audience of Bengali cinema had stopped coming to the theaters but over time we had realized the need to adapt to changes. Hence the three theaters were closed on July 1 last year. We had initially thought of introducing two screens in each theater but later on we took the challenge to stick to the one screen format,” the owner said.

“The ornate exteriors of the three theaters have been retained,” he added. In sync with the times, the show timings have been altered and different films will be screened during different shows, Pal said.

Expressing joy over the development, Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee told “Minar, Bijoli and Chhabighar had been screening films of noted directors and noted production houses. Their reopening is a very good news especially after the good show by Bengal at the National Awards this year. It (reopening) will have a feel good factor.”

Chatterjee said, with a large number of Bengali films being released these days, many of them are forced to have short runs at theaters despite doing well at the box office. The opening of three halls will give a little more space to the makers and producers of such films” he said.

Bengali hero and Trinamool Congress leader Soham Chakraborty recalled that his first film had run for weeks in Bijoli. “These three theaters are linked to the culture and heritage of Bengali cinema. But I also wish that more such prominent closed theaters lift their shutters for the audience,” he said.

-prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram Twitter @NikitaTayal6

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TMC supporters in Tripura seek CBI probe into Chitfund Scam in Left-ruled state

Over 6,000 TMC workers led by top party leaders, including West Bengal's Minister of State for Panchayat and Public Health Shyamal Santra and MLA (Salboni) Srikanto Mahato, participated in the agitation

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TMC agitation in Tripura (Representational image) VOA

Tripura, Feb 23, 2017: Four policemen were injured as opposition Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday organised a civil disobedience movement here to demand a probe by the CBI and ED into the activities of illegal NBFCs and chit fund organisations in Left-ruled Tripura.

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Over 6,000 TMC workers led by top party leaders, including West Bengal’s Minister of State for Panchayat and Public Health Shyamal Santra and MLA (Salboni) Srikanto Mahato, participated in the agitation.

A large number of security forces, led by Deputy Inspector General of Police Uttam Majumder and West Tripura district police chief Abhijit Saptarshi, were deployed to deal with the agitation.

“Four policemen were injured in the scuffle with the agitators,” Saptarshi told IANS.

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TMC’s Tripura unit President Ashish Saha said over 14 lakh depositors were cheated by various Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and chit fund organisations, including Rose Valley.

“Without the probe by CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and ED (Enforcement Directorate) the actual irregularities and wrongdoing would not be unearthed,” Saha told reporters at the agitation spot near Raj Bhavan.

The opposition party held the civil disobedience movement in support of their 11 demands, including withdrawal of demonetisation of high-value notes, restoration of tribal sub-plan schemes by the Centre, an end to crime against women in Tripura and government jobs to unemployed youths in a transparent way.

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TMC legislator Sudip Roy Barman alleged that Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, his ministers and leaders of the ruling Left Front in Tripura are responsible for flourishing activities of these organisations.

“Sarkar promoted the business of Rose Valley; his party colleagues, including two ministers, are either involved or promoted the business of NBFCs and chit fund organisations,” Barman told reporters here.

He said: “The CBI and the ED are taking action against TMC parliamentarians and leaders in West Bengal but both the agencies are not acting in Tripura.”

He claimed a tacit understanding between the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government.

He said they will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask for CBI and ED probes.

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Denying the TMC charges, CPI-M state Secretary Bijan Dhar said Tripura was the first state to enact laws to curb unlawful activities of chit fund companies and NBFCs and had repeatedly asked the CBIto investigate.

“The TMC leaders have no issue. They are playing an old record just to misguide the people,” Dhar told reporters.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist is a dominant partner in the Left Front that comprises four parties.

The Tripura High Court last year asked the state government to set up a Special Investigation Team to probe illegal NBFCs and chit fund organisations.

Meanwhile, SIT head and Tripura’s Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) K.V. Sreejesh told the media that the SIT is now probing 78 cases involving 48 NBFCs and chit fund organisations and had arrested 112 persons.

“We have seized bank accounts and attached properties of most of these organisations. We will soon complete our probe,” the officer added.

In 2013, the Tripura government referred 37 cases relating to chit fund companies and NBFCs to the CBI. The central probe agency, however, took up only five cases. (IANS)

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Congress-Left ally can topple TMC in Bengal

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Kolkata: In a bid to topple the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal, the Congress leaders were trying to forge an alliance with the Left Front in the state.

State Congress general secretary Om Prakash Mishra also asserts that only a Congress-Left alliance can defeat the Trinamool.

However, a section of the state Congress leadership, including Manas Bhunia, point out that party workers had repeatedly come under attack from Communist cadres during the 34 years Left Front rule. They fear that a majority of the Congressmen could switch allegiance to the Trinamool or sit idle in case of a tie-up with the Left Front.

Beyond the boundaries of Bengal, the Congress and the Left are political foes in Kerala and Tripura, and a tie-up in the eastern state could “dilute” their rivalry in the two other states, argue critics. In such a scenario, the BJP – which has been trying to make inroads in Kerala and Tripura – would stand to gain.

However, Mishra is dismissive of such arguments.

“Electorally, we have competed against each other for over 60 years in Bengal and will continue to do so. But at the same time, we are on the same page in opposing the Trinamool’s misrule.”

“We cannot allow the Trinamool another reign of terror and, as opposition parties; it is our duty to provide the people a better alternative. So it is necessary for the Congress and the Left Front to come together,” Mishra told reporters.

Contending that 40 percent of votes which the BJP polled in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections would come to the Left-Congress combine, Mishra has twice written to party President Sonia Gandhi calling for seizing the political opportunity and tying up with the Left.

“No rational mind will bet on the BJP getting more than five percent votes, the civic polls last year are an indicator of that. In 2014, BJP got nearly 17 percent of the votes at the cost of both the Congress and the Left.”

“So, with the BJP losing all its popularity and becoming insignificant, the opposition votes itself would consolidate when the Congress and the CPI-M combine,” argued Mishra, claiming that the alliance could win around 170 of Bengal’s 294 seats.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while the Trinamool secured 39.3 percent of the votes, the Left Front and the Congress had 29.5 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.

In the last assembly elections in 2011, the Trinamool, then part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), had won 184 seats, the Left Front 62 seats, and the Congress 42 seats. The BJP did not win a single seat.

Mishra, a Jadavpur University professor, worked for over two months preparing the assembly segment-wise vote projections and claims an electoral arrangement with the Marxists will not impact his party’s opposition to the Left in Kerala, where elections will be held at the same time.

“The political dimensions vary from state to state. In Kerala we will compete, in Bengal we will cooperate. The Congress-Left contest in Kerala or Tripura will not reflect in our combined effort to dismantle the Mamata government,” he said.

The possibility of a Left-Congress alliance has gained ground with Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and state CPI-M secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra and Marxist Politburo member Mohammad Salim publicly advocating such a coalition.

Chowdhury, who had been earlier insisting on the Congress going it alone, is now pitching for an alliance and has flown to New Delhi to discuss the issue with the party’s central leadership.

Mishra insists the combine would sweep the Muslim-dominated Malda, Murshidabad and North Dinajpur districts – considered Congress strongholds.

“All six Lok Sabha seats in these three districts went to the Congress (four) and the CPI-M (two). If we combine, we can very well win all the 43 assembly seats in these three districts,” said Mishra, claiming Trinamool’s hobnobbing with the BJP has only furthered the disenchantment of the minorities against it.

“The disillusionment among minority voters has only been compounded with as many as four central ministers giving certificates of appreciation to the Mamata government,” said Mishra, referring to the recently-held Bengal Global Business Summit where union ministers, including Arun Jaitley, showered praise on the Banerjee administration.

“Both the Congress and the Left are well-regarded by the minorities anywhere in the country and when both these forces unite, the minorities are bound to root for them,” he said. Muslims comprise 27.1 per cent of Bengal’s population, according to the 2011 census.

The Congress has also been making efforts to reach out to the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) to forge a grand alliance in the Bihar polls where old foes Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad joined hands to inflict a crushing defeat on the BJP.

Mishra said the effort will be to forge a formal alliance with a declared common minimum program, a chief ministerial candidate as well as a deputy chief ministerial nominee. (IANS)