Downplays reports of 26 such incidents in West Bengal in the last 8 months
Barely a few hours after West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan said here on Monday that incidents of farmers committing suicides were “unfortunate”, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee downplayed the developments claiming only one farmer resorted to the extreme step since she took charge.
“If any farmer commits suicide, I will bear full responsibility for it. But these are not farmers. We have found out that among all those incidents reported there is only one farmer,” Ms. Banerjee said at a function in the evening.
Twenty-six farmers have reportedly committed suicide in the eight months since Ms. Banerjee's government came to power in the State.
“There are some who are tactfully creating mischief instead of extending a helping hand to those suffering from mental depression. Whenever someone commits suicide, they tell the family members to claim that it is a farmer suicide to avoid the hassle of a police case,” claimed Ms. Banerjee.
Training her guns on the Left parties, Ms. Banerjee said that the tactics of spreading false propaganda had also been used against the Siddhartha Shankar Ray government between 1972 and 1977 “which enabled them [the Left Front] to come to power for 34 years.”
“But in our times, these tactics will not work. That was the Congress; it is the Trinamool Congress this time around,” said Ms. Banerjee.
Incidentally, not only the Left parties but the Congress — an ally — too has raised the issue of farmer suicides and the failures of the West Bengal government to procure grains and ensure that peasants receive the minimum support price declared by the Centre for their produce.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Narayanan said that both the Centre and State governments were concerned about the issue of farmer suicides across West Bengal.
“That is an issue which is engaging the attention of both the State government and the Central government,” Mr. Narayanan told journalists.
Mr. Narayanan said that there was a need to find ways and means to ensure that the farmer suicides did not recur. “Many of them, I suppose, were in debt,” he added.
Left telling kin of those who killed themselves to claim it was farmer suicide: Mamata
“If any farmer commits suicides, I will bear full responsibility for it”