West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday warned that those maligning her government “will go one day” and claimed that she was not vindictive and was averse to taking any action against them.
Criticising “one particular section of the media” for its “negative publicity,” she said, “There are those who only keep speaking ill [of us], they will go one day. [But] I am not vindictive and do not want to take any action [against them].”
Ms. Banerjee’s statement might not have been directed only at the media, as it came a day after Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju warned her that she would “not be able to remain as chief minister for long” unless she changed her ways “and became more tolerant.”
For all the criticisms, Ms. Banerjee could care no less. “All this negative campaigning is because of vested interests … Let them do so, I don’t care. If I get a chance to work I do not care for anybody. I have fought enough in my life,” she said while inaugurating ‘Bengal Builds,’ a conclave on urban infrastructure development.
And, to drive home her point, she took recourse to a popular saying — “Raja chale bazaar, kuttey bhonke hazar [the king goes to the market, the dogs in their thousands bark at him]” —which her political opponents, including Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra, felt was in “utter bad taste”.
“I will turn all this negative publicity into positive,” she said adding that the fact that a section of the media was responsible for it was another facet of the “same 34 years legacy [of the Left Front], which has totally destroyed the whole situation” and of which the “administration is also a victim.”
Later, addressing journalists at the Secretariat, she singled out two television channels. She criticised them “for always criticising [her government].”
“How does it matter to me? The government is working according to the law; neither is it demonic nor is it brutal.”
Ms. Banerjee cautioned those calling bandhs and organising road blocks, saying that her government would not spare anyone seeking to create nuisance.
In an attempt to woo entrepreneurs to invest in urban infrastructure, she said due to a huge debt burden her government had inherited, its options were very limited. “My economic situation is not allowing me … though my heart is with you. I do not mislead the people; that is my minus point. I am outspoken too.”