Fixing the blame on the previous Left Front government for the poor financial situation in the State, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Monday that “it takes time to overcome a legacy of 35 years.”
“For years they [the Left Front government] had created a farce of presenting a zero budget, creating a complete mess. They were borrowing funds from outside,” Ms. Banerjee alleged, adding that her government had to bear the brunt by paying interest on those loans.
She was also critical of the Centre for letting the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led government get away with not implementing the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 “for so long.”
Ms. Banerjee said that the performance of her government was “number one,” considering the constraints she was working with, adding that she would “let the records speak.”
Accusing the Left of “many conspiracies” against her government, Ms. Banerjee said that a section of contractors in the State were stirring trouble against the decision to introduce e-tendering. She said that the “affiliations” of these contractors were “well known,” but she would not allow them to obstruct the development process.
“There are contractors who after getting the tenders are not working or deliberately delaying the work. It is a crime. Every department has been instructed to blacklist these contractors,” she said.
Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra took a dig at Ms. Banerjee for her remarks stating that “she has indeed taken the State to the number one position.”
On matters such as “fiscal irresponsibility,” “extortion,” “crimes against women,” “driving investors away” and “creating a general atmosphere of lawlessness” she had taken the State to the number one slot, Dr. Mishra said.
Dr. Mishra pointed out that Ms. Banerjee’s government had been on the receiving end of criticism from the Human Rights Commission, the Judiciary, the media, the Press council of India and social activists.
“Only her government could have picked a fight with a Constitutional body like the State Election Commission to put an election on hold,” Dr. Mishra said.
On the issue of contractors objecting to the process of e-tendering Dr. Mishra said it was because the government had “failed to make a provision for the extortion that is involved.”