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July 21, 2020

Only the people of Bengal will run Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

Only the people of Bengal will run Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

Trinamool Congress Chairperson Mamata Banerjee addressed the people of Bengal today on the occasion of Shahid Dibas, or Martyrs’ Day. This annual event on July 21 has come to define the popularity of Trinamool Congress and the love the people have for its leader, Mamata Banerjee.

This year though the event was held in a different way – it was a virtual rally. The rules being followed during the pandemic prevents people from gathering in crowds. Hence the chairperson’s speech was exclusively a broadcast event – telecast on Facebook as well as on television channels. The enthusiasm of the people though was the same as every year, the event being witnessed by tens of lakhs of people all over Bengal.

Here are the highlights of Mamata Banerjee’s speech:

I welcome all the party workers to the event. I welcome one and all, the maa, mati and manush of Bengal, irrespective of religion, caste or creed, to this July 21 rally. It will be forever written about in the annals of democracy.

Today we are grieved, mentally hurt. When a natural disaster or a killer disease of epic proportions comes to hunt people down, it is the people who would find priority in our scheme of things.

The July 21 rally next year, after the Assembly results are declared and after all conspiracies and diseases are vanquished, would be the biggest such rally.

Lakhs of people come to attend this rally every year from the far corners of the state. This year it couldn’t happen, but on the other hand, we have reached out to thousands of booths. The ‘jora phool’ has reached 62,600 booths. People are watching the live telecast across Bengal, and getting ready for a grand fight next year.

I pay my respect to all those who gave their lives and the almost 100 people who were injured on that terrible July 21 in 1991. We couldn’t bring their family members together as it is a virtual rally this year but we sent them individual letters.

During the run of CPI(M), our workers were murdered in Nandigram, Netai, Saibari, Chamkaitala, Keshiary, Pingla, Sabang and several other places. I pay my respect to all those people. In fact, my heartfelt respect goes out to all those people, including journalists and police encounter victims, across the country who have been killed mercilessly, to the jawans who gave their lives for the country at the Chinese borders a few weeks back.

There are many who are not saying anything out of fear, despite their hearts crying out and their conscience shaking with rage; people are being threatened to keep shut. There is a dance of death happening across the country.

Today I pay my respects to all those – health workers, doctors, police and others – who gave their lives fighting this terrible disease threatening us. They too are warriors – social warriors.

A terrible storm uprooted the lives and livelihoods of lakhs of people across the state. Many people died. With the help of the administration, though, we could save many lives, but not livelihoods. Many people have become homeless, businesses have been destroyed, farmlands devastated.

Those affected have already been paid monetary compensation, to the tune of Rs 6,500 crore. Those who haven’t got yet would get very soon. I ask those who have genuinely been devastated to not to worry – the government is with you.

Often false propaganda is being carried out against us. If any ration shop owner has indulged in malpractices, the state government has taken action. The CPI(M), BJP and Congress, on the other hand, are disrupting the lives of the people of Bengal.

Is there any other state which declared distribution of free ration even before the lockdown was announced? Free ration was already being distributed under the Khadya Sathi Scheme; after lockdown, even those without ration cards are being given free ration against coupons. About 10 crore people are getting free ration; it would continue till June 21 next year.

As long as our government is in power, people would get ration, health services and education for free.

We are helping all those who are helpless, deprived, neglected and oppressed.

Despite COVID and Cyclone Amphan, the progress of development has not stopped in Bengal. Many people indulge in insulting and disrespecting Bengal; we will win them over not through revenge but through love.

The people of Bengal will say with pride in their hearts that not outsides but the people of Bengal, who love Bengal truly, would run the government here. There is no reason to think that Trinamool Congress is weak.

There are some people – whom we have never seen before – who neither have any philosophy nor ideology nor any conscience nor any good thoughts, who never think of the good of others, but only talk about killing and rioting and taking recourse to encounters. Where have you come from? What is your ideological stand? I’ve never heard your names. Have you ever helped people? Just because your party is in power at the Centre, you are forcing things. Attacking artists, members of the administration, vice-chancellors, journalists and anyone who opposes you.

Remember, we have not forgotten about our fight on NPR and NRC in Delhi. You do not let people protest. Never think that just because the COVID pandemic is raging, we have forgotten about these issues.

We are all citizens. Who are you to give citizenship? We have ensured that those who have come over as refugees here have been given citizenship, we have ensured citizenship for the residents of the chitmahals in Cooch Behar who stayed back.

They are creating discord among the people with the help of lies – between migrants and residents of Bengal, between Hindus and Muslims, between different tribes. We have grown up here firmly believing that people of all religions and communities must always be together.

Look how happy BJP was when Cyclone Amphan hit Bengal! The prime minister came as if to show us mercy. He gave the State Rs 1,000 crore. We have already spent it on the needy people. But is that all that Bengal deserves?

We have given 6.5 lakh returning migrant workers Rs 1,000 each, plus their train fares as they came home fearing the pandemic. We have spent Rs 250 crore on arranging food for them. We have also brought back the students who went to other places to study.

Despite the disastrous circumstances right now, we have given 46 lakh farmers their dues under the Krishak Bandhu Scheme.

Eleven lakh farmers have been given Kisan Credit Cards. Only the Bengal Government pays the entire premium for crop insurance, farmers don’t have to pay anything. Our government also does not collect any fees for mutation of farmlands.

Earlier, the lands of Adivasis used to be snatched away. We made a law which said that that can no longer be done. They have the right to their land.

We are helping 9.5 lakh people this year with housing under Bangla Abasan Yojana. The distribution of the money under the scheme has already started.

We are the only State to celebrate Mati Dibas and to set up Mati Tirtha. Later this idea of ours was taken by none other than the United Nations.

We have started Mati Srishti Prakalpa, through which fallow lands are being made cultivable. Through this scheme, a 2.5 lakh people would get paid work on a total of 50 acres of land.

Rs 20,906 has been spent on schemes for building and repairing roads and on several other developmental schemes.

There can be no comparison between Bengal and other States. Gujarat and Odisha are half as good as Bengal is. Delhi is just another city like Kolkata. Only Uttar Pradesh is bigger. There are 10 crore people in Bengal. So many people come from other States to work here, and some bring diseases with them too.

Don’t be afraid about the fact that COVID cases are increasing; we are also increasing the number of tests. If we are up to our tasks regarding testing and tracing of contacts, we are confident we would be able to stem the tide. I also hope that vaccines will be available soon.

In Bengal, there are 18,000 vacant beds which can accommodate COVID-19 patients – 11,000 in hospitals and 7,000 in Safe Homes. By August 31, the total number of beds for COVID patients would go up to 23,500.

We are conducting 13,000 tests daily, which would increase to 25,000 daily by August 15.

The mortality rate for COVID-19 in Bengal is 2.56 per cent. Of the patients, a huge 87 per cent have mild symptoms, 8 per cent have moderate symptoms and only 5 per cent are serious. The patient discharge rate is 60 per cent.

Our critics never talk about the development we have brought about; they are only concerned with causing destruction.

We have been in power for only nine years. And a party which won a few seats only in 2019 is thinking that it has won over the world. Their members’ job is only to riot, destroy, spread malice, fight, set fire upon and plan conspiracies. They are doing whatever they are feeling like.

The party in power at the Centre is the lynchpin of conspiracies. The party in power is party to conspiracies.

Their leaders are sending regular complaints to Delhi that there is breakdown of law and order in Bengal. Really? Go and ask people, and you would know the truth.

Don’t you have the slightest sense of shame? I believe that charity begins at home. Look at yourselves first in a mirror.

What’s going on in Uttar Pradesh? Even calling the situation ‘jangalraj’ won’t be enough. They have made slaves of people. Before you can file a complaint in a police station you would get killed. Even police personnel are being killed in the name of encounter. They are killing people so that there is no evidence left of any wrongdoing. What kind of government is that?

Go and see how people are living in fear in Bihar, Bengaluru, Assam, Tripura. Their mouths have been shut up. They are torturing people in Assam in the name of NRC. And the same people who are ensuring these are indulging in big talk here about justice.

The Central Government is bent on selling off Coal India, Air India, Railways, and asking employees to take unpaid leave for five years.

The Centre, in the name of funds required to combat COVID-19, has frozen the DAs of Central Government employees. It has suspended MPLAD funds. However, our government employees are getting their full salaries. Everyone is getting their salaries on time despite us carrying a debt load of Rs 2 lakh crore.

In the last nine years, Bengal’s GSDP (gross state domestic product) has increased by 2.5 times, revenue by three times, capital expenditure by 11 times, plan expenditure by seven times, and expenditure on agriculture by eight times, on social sectors by six times and on infrastructure by six times.

Bengal is number one in poverty alleviation, 100 Days’ Work, MSME, constructing housing for the poor, road construction, skill development and providing scholarships to minority community members.

Bengal has place of its own. Every year, one crore students are given bicycles for free under Sabooj Sathi Scheme, health insurance under Swasthya Sathi Scheme is provided to 7.5 people.

We have provided help to 52 lakh families which suffered losses due to the cyclones Bulbul and Amphan. We buy paddy directly from farmers, without the help of middlemen.

Infant mortality rate in Bengal has come down from 32 to 24. Hospitals for children have come up. Institutional delivery has gone up from 68 per cent to 99 per cent.

We have set up 30 universities and 50 colleges. Eleven more universities are coming up.

We have provided food security to the people, the 66 lakh people who don’t have digital ration cards have been given coupons against which they can get foodgrains from ration stores.

We are providing health services free of cost, even people from other States come here to get treatment. We provide kidney dialysis services at low cost in government hospitals. Medicines are available at much cheaper rate from fair-price medicine shops,

Only is Bengal would you find communal harmony.

Under Joy Bangla Scheme, 20 lakh scheduled tribe members over 60 years of age get a monthly pension of Rs 1,000.

It is the State Government, and not the Centre, that provides scheduled caste students from classes V to VIII get scholarships under Sikshashree Scheme. Besides this, there are schemes like Kanyashree, Rupashree, Yuvashree, Gatidhara, Baitarani and several others.

The Centre had stopped funding the ICDS programme; we now provide for it.

With respect to MSMEs, 520 clusters and 36 industrial parks have been constructed, leading to the employment of 36 lakh people.

Under Karma Sathi Prakalpa, one lakh youth would be provided financial aid.

When unemployment in the country has increased by 45 per cent, only in Bengal has it reduced by 40 per cent.

Minority community students of Bengal get the highest scholarships; and the Centre doesn’t provide for them. A total of 2.38 crore of them are being provided scholarships.

Under 100 Days’ Work Scheme, 227 crore person-days have been created by spending Rs 52,000 crore.

Under Anandadhara, Jaago and other schemes, financial aid and loans at low interests are being provided.

We provided pension to one lakh folk artistes under Lokprasar Prakalpa. Under the scheme, about 1.5 crore people over the age of 60 get pension.

I’m also made of flesh and blood. I’m not a machine. I too have a heart. I have risen to where I am today after getting beaten up for years together while protesting.

I got through the CPI(M) years beaten up ever so often, there are injury marks all over my body. Under the BJP’s government at the Centre, there have been insults, torture, terror, deprivation, false propaganda. I won’t tolerate these any longer.

If I could defeat the CPI(M) after their being in power for 35 long years, BJP is nothing in comparison. It only believes in looting and calling other thieves and buying voters during elections. They have accumulated funds worth hundreds of crores.

Not Gujarat, it is Bengal which would run over Bengal. They can run Gujarat. They want to rule over everybody. So do they want that there be no other political party? Then impose President’s Rule. What’s the need for an Election Commission? They want to start a ‘one country, one political party’ system.

They are bringing one black law after another; they are not thinking it necessary to discuss those with anybody else. People are losing their freedom.

If any untoward incident happens in Bengal, instead of letting the police take action they are setting up blockades, indulging in arson. What kind of politics is this? They are forcing everything.

By the next July 21, we have to show BJP its place by defeating it, so badly that it even loses its candidate deposits. It has to learn the lesson that outsiders would not be allowed in Bengal.

Why did the BJP NLA die? We from our party are sad that it happened. We promise a proper investigation.

You have collected enough money, now please start giving Rs 10,000 each to unorganised sector workers.

During elections they give Rs 4,000 to people and in return, loot Rs 4,000 crore. They just take from people and give the same money back.

I request everyone to not accept money in lieu of voting for any candidate.

Bengal is about civilisation, about culture. Just because they got a few votes in 2019, they have started making too much noise. You believe them and you would be fooled.

This is my appeal: For the BJP, it’s all about money and promises.

Bengal is the land of education, culture, civilised society. We will build a Bengal where people of all religions stay in unity and not in fear of each other.

Those who take everyone along, they are the real leaders; they who try to scare people in the name of Central agencies can never be true leaders. People like Gandhi ji and Swami Vivekananda are the ones we consider as leaders, we take inspiration from them.

Depend on us, believe in us, have faith in us – in 2021, help Trinamool Congress return to power in Bengal.