A day after West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee came down strongly on her for not just uttering untruths but also failing as Railway Minister, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said at a rally on Sunday in Bankura, not far from where the former had spoken, that if she had been in power for five years, at least 10 lakh people of the State would have been given employment.

Assembly polls in the State are due next year.

In only one year she, as Railway Minister, had paved the way for setting up of several industrial units across the State, Ms. Banerjee claimed, adding that Mr. Bhattacharjee would be nowhere to be found once they start rolling.

“For 34 years you could do nothing,” she said, in response to the Chief Minister's charges against her on Saturday on the subject of creating jobs.

“The only factory set up in the past 34 years [of Left Front rule] was one to churn out armed cadres of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)…one to kill people.”

Purulia visit

Her visit to Purulia (she was there earlier in the day) and Bankura — two of the three districts that encompass Jangal Mahal — is being perceived as part of Ms. Banerjee's attempt to establish her party's sway in the region, long considered a CPI(M) stronghold and which now has a Maoist presence prior to the Assembly polls.

She repeated her claim that the party was attempting to retrieve lost ground under the cover of the joint security operation against the Maoists.

“West Bengal cannot be politically captured with the help of the joint security forces. This is my challenge…..I have told the Centre to withdraw these forces from Jangal Mahal. I still say so,” she asserted while alleging that the CPI(M) “is misusing a section of the Central government” in this regard.

“Development, not guns”

“Peace has to be restored here not with guns but through development… Jangal Mahal is teeming with armed CPI(M) activists. Come the elections and the CPI(M) will realise that none in Jangal Mahal is with them….I will uproot the CPI(M) politically from West Bengal's soil,” she added.

A “war of liberation”

She likened the coming Assembly elections to a “war of liberation” from the CPI(M) armed activists.

“The people of Darjeeling, the people of Jangal Mahal, the people of West Bengal want peace.

“The problem is that some political parties like the CPI(M) are out to deny the people their democratic rights,” Ms. Banerjee said.

MoU for power plant

Earlier, a memorandum of understanding was signed in her presence between the Railways and the National Thermal Power Corporation to set up a 1,320 MW power plant at Adra in Purulia district.

Ms. Banerjee also laid the foundation stone for a Coach Mid-Life Rehabilitation Workshop at Anara.

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