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September 14, 2018

30 things Mamata Banerjee said at the ‘Rising Bengal’ conclave

30 things Mamata Banerjee said at the ‘Rising Bengal’ conclave

Today, Bangla Chief Minister attended a programme ‘Rising Bengal’ organised by a private television channel. She interacted with people from all walks of life at the event.

Highlights of what the Chief Minister said:

I feel proud to say, Bengal is not only rising but also smiling. In every sphere, we are number one. Specially, ‘Sarva Dharma Samannay’ and ‘unity in diversity’. It is our motto.

Regional parties will play the main role in 2019. Many parties are together for the Federal Front. Only Congress and BJP are not the national parties. We are also a national party.

There are two concerns among the people – stability of government if regional parties come together, and whether any work will get done. Situation has changed now. Most regional parties are working together.

2019 will be a referendum – people will vote No for BJP and Yes for other parties. There are many reasons for that. If people decide do something, money power, fake news, propaganda cannot change that.

People are suffering today – the commoners are the biggest sufferers. They want change. They will not think twice before voting for change.

Winning 282 seats with 31% vote share is not a joke. But that happens only once. After that what happened? Atrocities started. Petrol prices are rising. Price of cooking gas is rising. And what not?

We are only witnessing lynchings. People are being killed in the name of encounters. Some militant religious people are calling the shots. We want the country to be united and developed. Where is the collective leadership? Only two people are running the show! This government has failed in all sectors.

I have a lot of grievances against national channels. Why have they become silent spectators. Why are you not speaking the truth about the BJP? This is the feeling of the common people. Why is the media BJP-friendly? Media is a strong pillar of democracy. But they have lost the credibility.

Theirs is a political campaign. They are not spending money for the country. Take demonetisation for example. 99 per cent of the currency is back. What was the need for that? Was it not a scheme to back black money white?

BJP is spending money for election and propaganda like hosepipe. Reality is different. They want to buy the people with money.

We are patriotic, more than BJP. They don’t know anything about freedom struggle. BJP is distorting our stand on NRC. We have said no genuine citizen of India should be excluded. If PM goes to the meeting of Shias, they are good Muslims. If their names are struck off, they are bad Muslims? White is good and black is bad? Out of the 40 lakh names excluded in NRC, 22 lakh are Hindus. Do I need a certificate from BJP for Hinduism? This country is like a human body, and cannot survive without a single organ. We don’t believe in divisive ideology.

We don’t need lessons for BJP. This is the land of Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Rabindranath Tagore. We must remember what they preached. They are even misusing Vallabhbhai Patel’s name. Swami Vivekananda had said Hinduism is universal. It stands for tolerance. We believe in that Hinduism. We don’t support militant Hinduism.

We must keep our nation united. Or else, India as we know it, will not exist.

We have set up 23 new universities in Bengal. Our students are also talented. There are many tie-ups with foreign institutions. Many students from other States are coming to Bengal for pursuing education.

Some people only give bhashans while some people work hard. There are people who only give bhashan on Facebook while there are people who have dedication, devotion, discipline.

Bengal was a laggard State when we took over. We are paying Rs 48,000 crore as debt installment every year. In every sphere we are number one now. From free healthcare to skill development and MSME – we are ahead in every sector.

Centre has a scheme called ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’. What is the budget? How many girls benefitted? In Bengal, for Kanyashree scheme, we have spent Rs 6,000 crore and 50 lakh people benefitted. The Centre spends major part of the fund for promotion only.

Ideologically, we are against bandhs. 80 lakh mandays were lost during Left Front rule for bandhs. So, when rest of India was closed during Bharat Bandh, Bengal was open for all. Although the bandh was called against BJP, we protested in our own way, but did not support the bandh.

This year, I was supposed to visit China, but that was cancelled. Then, I was invited for an event by the Vedanta Society at Chicago to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech at World Parliament of Religions. I was invited in April, and in June they wrote to cancel the programme, due to ‘unforeseen events’.

MEA had issued a statement yesterday, claiming that we did not seek permission for Chicago visit. First, the programme has to be finalised. Right? And we know the RSS had a programme in Chicago around this time. I do not support this militant, terrorist organisation. They could have done their programme, after my visit. What was the harm? Threats were given. There was a lot of mental torture.

Genuine people should not be excluded from original list of NRC. 40 lakh out of 2 crore population have been excluded. Is this believable? There are Liyaqat-Nehru and Indira-Mujib pacts. If someone feels a person speaking in Bengali is an infiltrator, it is not fair. Even names of people from Bihar, UP and Tamil Nadu have been left out.

They want to collapse the education system. Funding for research is not being released. How will the country run? It is a fact that educationists are facing problems. I don’t know who are advising them.

Bengal is a model for the entire country. Despite the huge debt burden, we have carried out all social welfare schemes. In the last seven years, we have conducted more than 400 meetings at block level for monitoring of projects.

The Centre collects money from States, through income tax, cess, excise duty, etc. It is the State which implements projects. What percent of the money is given back to the States? Pittance.

Centre does not cooperate with us. They take it as a political agenda. I have seen many governments but I have never seen such a vindictive government. The manner in which this government is being run is absolutely wrong.

First they should manage Delhi, then look at Bengal. They will not cross 200 seats. They will lose heavily in UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan. Only Telangana can give them support.

No matter how hard they try, BJP will not be able to win this time. People want the BJP to lose. Who will become the PM will be decided later. There will be collective leadership.

I have struggled all my life. Earlier the challenge was different. Now, they struggle is different. We have to make a better Bengal. My dream is to see people happy, and living in peace and unity.

People are scared of the Prime Minister. Why is it so? One may or may not like a political party. But why would anyone be afraid of the PM? People are scared if they speak up, agencies will be hounding them. Political parties should not sell out themselves for militant attitude, vendetta politics or fundamentalism. India is a vast country with a lot of diversity. Unity in diversity is very important.

In 2014, they made a lot of promises – Rs 15 lakh will be deposited in bank accounts, black money will come back etc – but how many of them have been fulfilled? In 2019, people will not believe these promises anymore.