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People confront Trinamool MLAs, MPs during Mamata’s new outreach initiative

Trinamool representatives inaccessible and missing from constituencies, say residents during ‘Didir Doot’ programme

January 25, 2023 09:10 am | Updated January 26, 2023 10:22 am IST - Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File. | Photo Credit: ANI

 

From MPs to Ministers to local panchayat functionaries, representatives of the Trinamool Congress are facing a tough time during the ruling party’s new mega outreach programme, ‘Didir Suraksha Kawach’ (Didi’s protection shield).

Under the initiative, the representatives of the party named ‘Didir Doot’ (Didi’s emissary/ messenger) reach out to the people. But almost everyday, the situation is turning ugly owing to public resentment; in some cases, it is going out of control, where police intervention is required.

On Tuesday, Trinamool Congress MLA Ashis Banerjee, during the ‘Didir Doot’ initiative, was  confronted by some people claiming to be residents of the Mohammad Bazar area in West Bengal’s Birbhum district. The locals said the MLA had become like a “comet” rarely seen in the night sky.  Only a few days ago, Birbhum MP Satabdi Roy faced a similar situation when locals complained that she was always absent and not accessible to the people of the region. 

Villagers from different parts of the State have not only complained about the missing public representatives but also alleged irregularities in the implementation of welfare schemes. Villagers have complained that they had been denied benefits of the ‘PM Awas Yojana’ and several other welfare schemes, despite local leaders taking money from them. On one occasion, State’s Minister Chandranath Sinha faced angry e-rickshaw drivers who complained that illegal toll was being collected on roads constructed under the PM Gram Sadak Yojana.

On January 14, a BJP worker who approached State Minister Rathin Ghosh with a request to repair a road was slapped by a Trinamool Congress worker in front of the Minister drawing widespread condemnation. The entire incident was caught on camera. 

Under the ‘Didir Doot’ initiative, the Trinamool Congress supporters will reach out to the people and explain about the 15 flagship schemes of the State’s ruling party. The functionaries of the party will also try to enlist beneficiaries in the scheme if they have been left out. The mega outreach programme was aimed to connect with the masses before the panchayat elections in the State, which is expected in the next few months.

The West Bengal government has a “Duare Sarkar (government at doorstep)’ initiative where camps are set up in localities where people can enlist themselves in welfare schemes.

The Trinamool Congress had also conducted training of party workers participating in the ‘Didir Doot ‘initiative. However, with protests during the outreach programme becoming a daily affair, the exercise has turned out to be an embarrassment for the ruling party. 

With protests recurring, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee broke her silence and said the incidents should not be seen as “demonstrations or protests”. “It is not possible that everyone will like me. It is not possible I will have no critics. I want people to air their grievances in front of me. Do not call it a demonstration. This is our people bringing things to our notice,” Ms. Banerjee said at an event in Kolkata on Monday.

Referring to the protests, BJP State president Sukanta Majumdar said the Trinamool Congress won the Assembly election in 2021 with a majority of 213 seats of the 294 seats in the State, but had lost all respect and goodwill of the people in a short span of time.

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