April 28, 2011
Before leaving for campaigning on April 28, Mamata Banerjee spoke exclusively to Alistair Scrutton of Reuters
Excerpts from an interview with Reuters’ Alistair Scrutton
Q. How are you feeling now that you are so close to power?
A. I am happy because this is the first time in decades that people have been given a chance to freely express themselves. They have already voted freely so far as can be seen by the long queues. CPI (M) mastered the art of rigging elections and depriving people the chance to vote.
Q. How will you deal with the CPI (M) when they get into the ranks of the Opposition? Are you expecting any difficulties?
A. They always been like that. They are negative. They say ‘no, no, no’. I am a positive person. If approached correctly, everything has a solution.
Q. Political violence after election results?
A. The people will not allow this. We have had 35 years of state-sponsored terrorism. They have tortured the people. If you travel around Bengal, you will see. They spare no one. Men, women, children. But there will be no revenge, because we believe ‘Revenge is History, Change is Victory’.
Q. What is the first policy you will enact?
A. Our focus will be on good governance. There will be impartiality in all our dealings. Our guiding principles will be – clarity of purpose, transparency of process, and accountability to the people.
Q. What about institutions like the police?
A. Like most institutions in Bengal, the police has become an extended arm of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). I am not saying all policemen are bad. But they have been misused. The people of Bengal need to be given confidence. One of the key ways to do this is to allow police to function independently and freely. Also, out of our 226 candidates, five are very senior retired Indian Police Service officers (Inspector General level and upwards). For the first 6 months there will be a small cabinet, we will retain key ministries: Home, Health, and Industry.