By Arnab Mitra
On the eve of the age-old martyrs’ day celebration, Mamata Banerjee kicked off her election campaign for the forthcoming state assembly elections.
On the 21st of July 1993, 13 people were shot dead in a police firing owing to their incessant demands to make voter ID card as the sole document to exercise one’s right to vote. It was Mamata Banerjee who started off with this annual affair; a day to commemorate the sacrifices of the martyrs at Shahid Minar.
In an effort to save her party from the string of criticisms dogging her and her party members, she lambasted the media and the opposition parties, “the media and the opposition parties are working hand in glove to shatter the image of the Government, but the people are stronger than media and they will judge our performance”.
Reiterating her distrust in the Modi government, she says, “ Don’t teach us how to deal with corruption, better see yourselves.” Criticizing Modi’s flagship programmes like Swach Bharat Abhiyan and Beti Padao aur Beti Bachao Andolan, she added, “Modi ji work, don’t say.”
Fleshing out her government’s progress report, she added that Nadia district has been declared as India’s cleanest district by UNESCO. Further, shedding light on the state government’s initiative to up the status of girls in the state, she also restated that Kanyashri Prakalpa – a state-run program to support and empower adolescent girls- has 22 lakhs adolescent girls under its wings, the number being the highest amongst the states.
Refuting the media furore about her joining hands with the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections, she said, “Trinamool Congress will fight alone and win all the assembly seats in Bengal”.
Giving an inkling of her party’s strength and intent, she lashed out at her predecessors, “ For 35 years CPI(M) failed to develop the state, and when we are trying to bring forth development, they are feeling jealous. In 2016, the CPI(M) party will totally be removed from the state”.
Besides applauding her party members for the amount of hard work they have put in, she also ensured the youth of the state that they will soon be bagging coveted employment opportunities. According to her, the government will soon hire two lakh people in different sectors.
Rolling out her schemes exclusively meant for the poor, she said the state government will be providing ration on a monthly basis to three lakhs poor people in Bengal.
Further, the government will be giving scholarships to students hailing from the minority communities and will be building 22 multi-specialty hospitals and five new universities in Bengal.
Mamata Banerjee also gave a strong message to her party workers. She said, “To be a Trinamool party member, you have to follow five Ds- Discipline, Dedication, Determination, Devotion and Development”.
Painting a pro-poor picture of her party, she said Trinamool is a party for the poor people and not for the businessmen.
In an attempt at sporting her support for a party bereaved of corruption, she warned her party members involved in syndicates or illegal mining activities of grave repercussions. In addition, she asked the young generation to respect their elders and teachers.
As a last nail on the coffin, she congratulated the people of Kolkata for their recent victory in the elections to the Kolkata Municipal corporation and promised the people that she will arrange a victory party in Kolkata after Bengal becomes green in the 2016 assembly elections.