Special Correspondent

Remarks follow Pranab’s “report card” on the State

“Tie-up between Trinamool-Congress a people’s alliance”

KOLKATA: West Bengal under the Left Front government is the “most misruled State” in the country, K. Keshava Rao, the All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of West Bengal Congress affairs, alleged here on Wednesday.

During the Left Front’s 32 years in power, more than 40,000 people had been killed. They were mostly political victims and a large section of them belonged to the Congress, he added.

Mr. Rao came down strongly on the Left Front government for what he termed its poor performance in various areas. “Investment in the health and education sectors in the State has been lower than that made by the governments of Bihar and Jharkhand.”

His remarks came three days after Congress leader and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee sought to indict the Left Front government for its alleged failures. He had released a “development report card” on the State in New Delhi, which was refuted elaborately by Biman Bose, the chairman of the Left Front Committee, here on Monday.

“I share Biman Bose’s sentiments. I respect him also… But do not think the Congress or Pranabda will come under anybody’s influence when preparing notes [report cards],” Mr. Rao said.

He described the Trinamool Congress-Congress electoral equation as a “people’s alliance.”

“It was under pressure not only from a party but from the people who wanted a credible combination of the people against the misrule of the Left parties,” Mr. Rao said. The combination is “giving the people the sign that the Left Front is not invincible, that it can be faced and fought.”

Gorkhaland demand

Mr. Rao described the movement for a separate Gorkhaland as an attempt to “dismember” West Bengal and said his party was opposed to it.

He criticised the call by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) for a separate State on grounds that Gorkhas had a separate racial identity and wondered whether it accepted the “cultural nationalism” of the Bharatiya Janata Party. BJP leader Jaswant Singh is all set to contest from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency with GJM support.

Sonia’s visits

He said Congress president Sonia Gandhi would address three election rallies in Siliguri, Malda and Jangipur on April 27 rounding off the party’s campaign for the first phase of polls in the State. She would pay another visit to the State ahead of the subsequent phases of the elections.