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Updated: January 16, 2013 03:12 IST

Mamata blames Left for frequent strikes, blockades

Staff Reporter
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the inauguration of 'Bengal Leads' at Haldia in Purba Medinipur district on Tuesday.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the inauguration of 'Bengal Leads' at Haldia in Purba Medinipur district on Tuesday.

While she was in Opposition, she too had been derided for ‘obstructionist politics’

When in the Opposition, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had been derided for her “obstructionist politics”, but after 20 months in power the shoe is on the other foot with the Chief Minister blaming the Left for trying to derail the development she wants to bring to the State by calling frequent strikes and blockades.

 “Every day there is a road blockade, strike or a rally …. Show me one State in the country where they [the Opposition] is behaving like this,” Ms. Banerjee said on Tuesday at the inauguration of the second edition of Bengal Leads, a business summit organised by the government at Haldia in Purba Medinipur district.

 Reiterating that the Left Front government had left behind “a legacy of debt”, Ms. Banerjee also trained her guns on the Central government for failing to help West Bengal in a situation of a financial crisis.

“Give us our funds”

“I do not want an undue advantage. I do not want a special package … All I am saying is that whatever is our funds, let it come to us,” Ms. Banerjee said, adding that the only demand she had placed before the Centre was a three-year moratorium on interest payment, “at least a 50 per cent moratorium.”

 Ms. Banerjee also complained that since her government had taken over at a time when the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act had been implemented in the State, there were constraints on the funds she could raise through market borrowings.

 Even as comparisons have been made about her government’s poor showing in attracting industry to the State with the successes in Gujarat, Ms. Banerjee claimed that the difference was due to discrimination from the Centre.

‘Centre helped Gujarat’

 “Gujarat came up because the Central government helped them after the Bhuj earthquake,” Ms. Banerjee said, adding that she was the Railway Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Cabinet when the earthquake had struck.

 Taking credit for establishing a railway line “in 12 hours’ time” to Bhuj allowing relief material to be rushed in, Ms. Banerjee said that it had taken all night to do so.

 Despite the challenges, Ms. Banerjee said that her government had worked hard and taken long strides in ensuring a better work culture in the State as compared to the days when the Left was in power.

 She also emphasised that unlike the years when the Left was in power — “when several large-scale and small-scale industries closed shop” — there had been only one incident of a lockout in a major factory since her government came to power.

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