Mamata warns against destructive politics in the Hills

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee has warned that she will not tolerate politics of strife in the Hills. She was speaking at a rally near Siliguri on Thursday, January 21.

She took up serious issue with the torching of State Government properties, like the forest bungalow in Takdah and several other guesthouses. She said that the State Government would rebuild the bungalows. She added, “Because of such incidents, a lot of money is being spent needlessly.”

She also targeted naysayers regarding the creation of the secretariat for North Bengal, Uttar Kanya. She said the State Government has simply fulfilled the aspirations of the people there, and that her Government has always been for developing infrastructure for the people.

The Chief Minister also outlined the developments which have been done by the State Government in Darjeeling district, like restoring the Sukna bungalow and the house where Sister Nivedita stayed in Darjeeling, and many other places like Lamahata and Darjeeling itself.


পাহাড়ে ধ্বংসাত্মক রাজনীতির বিরুদ্ধে মমতা  

বৃহস্পতিবার শিলিগুড়িতে একটি সাফারি পার্কের উদ্বোধনী অনুষ্ঠান মঞ্চে পশ্চিমবঙ্গের মাননীয়া মুখ্যমন্ত্রী শ্রীমতী মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় বলেন পাহাড়ে কোনওরকম অসহিষ্ণুতা তিনি বরদাস্ত করবেন না।

তিনি বলেন, তাকদা বাংলো সহ আরও কয়েকটি অতিথিশালা তৈরি করেছিল রাজ্য সরকার, কিন্তু সেগুলি পুড়িয়ে দেওয়া হয়েছে। তিনি এও বলেন রাজ্য সরকার পুনরায় এই বাংলো তৈরি করবে। এইসব ঘটনার জন্য অযথা অনেক টাকা নষ্ট হয়।

উত্তরকন্যা তৈরির প্রসঙ্গে তিনি বলেন, উত্তরকন্যা তৈরি নিয়ে কেউ কেউ সমালোচনা করেন। উত্তরবঙ্গের জন্যও পৃথক সচিবালয় করার কথা আমরা ভেবেছিলাম এবং রাজ্য সরকার তার দেওয়া প্রতিশ্রুতি এবং মানুষের আকাঙ্খা পূর্ণ করেছে।

দার্জিলিং জেলায় রাজ্য সরকার দ্বারা সম্পন্ন উন্নয়নের কথাও এ দিন তার বক্তব্যে তুলে ধরেন মুখ্যমন্ত্রী। শুকনা বাংলো, ভগিনী নিবেদিতার বাসস্থান এবং লামাহাটার বিভিন্ন জায়গা সংরক্ষণের কথাও উল্লেখ করেন মুখ্যমন্ত্রী।

TMC shows solidarity with students protesting against intolerance in Hyderabad

Trinamool Congress today expressed solidarity with the students of University of Hyderabad, who are currently on a protest demanding justice for Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student who committed suicide after being expelled for his caste.

Leader of the party in Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien and Lok Sabha MP Pratima Mondal arrived in Hyderabad yesterday to meet the students. Addressing the students at the university campus this morning, Derek said,“I salute the students of the University of Hyderabad. We support what you are doing,”

“This is a students’ movement, we will not allow anyone to hijack the issue,” he added.

Responding to allegations of politicisation of Rohith’s death, Derek commented, “If showing solidarity with students is a political act, so be it. If supporting a students’ movement is politicisation, so be it. If demanding justice for Rohith is politicisation, so be it.”

The MP said that even though the Parliament is not in session, Parliamentarians will come to visit the students. “Yesterday a political party visited you. Today we are here. Tomorrow the Chief Minister of Delhi will visit you. Then the JD(U) will also send representatives.”

He solemnly promised to not let this incident be erased from the collective memory of the nation. “Rohith, if you are watching, we will continue to fight on your behalf. We need more Rohiths in the fight against intolerance,” Derek said.



অসহিষ্ণুতার বিরুদ্ধে হায়দরাবাদের ছাত্রদের প্রতিবাদের সমর্থনে তৃণমূল কংগ্রেস

হায়দরাবাদের ছাত্র রোহিত ভেমুলার আত্মবলিদানের প্রতিবাদে সেখানে যে ছাত্র বিক্ষোভ শুরু হয়েছে সেই আন্দোলনকে সমর্থন করতে তৃণমূল কংগ্রেসের এক প্রতিনিধি দল গতকাল হায়দরাবাদ পৌঁছান।

তৃণমূল কংগ্রেসের মুখপাত্র, রাজ্যসভার সাংসদ ডেরেক ও ব্রায়েন এবং লোকসভার সাংসদ প্রতিমা মণ্ডল গতকাল হায়দরাবাদ যান ছাত্রছাত্রীদের সঙ্গে দেখা করতে। আজ সকালে ছাত্র বিক্ষোভের সভামঞ্চ থেকে ডেরেক  বলেন,  ‘আমি হায়দরাবাদের  ছাত্রছাত্রীদের শুভেচ্ছা জানাই। আমরা আপনাদের সমর্থন করি’।

তিনি আরও বলেন, ‘ছাত্র বিক্ষোভকে ক্ষুদ্র স্বার্থে হাইজ্যাক হতে দেবনা’।

রোহিতের মৃত্যু নিয়ে রাজনীতি করা হচ্ছে এই প্রসঙ্গে ডেরেক বলেন ছাত্রদের সমর্থন করা যদি রাজনীতি হয় তবে তাই হোক। রোহিতের আত্মবলিদানের সুবিচার দাবি করা যদি রাজনীতি হয় তবে তাই হোক’।

সাংসদ আরও বলেন যদিও এখন সংসদের অধিবেশন চলছে না তবুও সংসদ আসবে ছাত্রছাত্রীদের সঙ্গে দেখা করতে। ‘গতকাল একজন দলনেতা এসেছিলেন,আজ আমরা এসেছি। আগামীকাল দিল্লির মুখ্যমন্ত্রী আসবেন দেখা করতে। জে ডি ইউ তাদের প্রতিনিধি দলকে এখানে পাঠাবে’।

দেশবাসীর স্মৃতি থেকে এই ঘটনা যাতে মুছে না যায় সেই অঙ্গীকার করেন ডেরেক। তিনি বলেন, ‘রোহিত তুমি যেখানেই থাক, শুনে রাখো আমরা তোমার আত্মবলিদান বিফল হতে দেব না। অসহিষ্ণুতার বিরুদ্ধে সংগ্রামের জন্য আমাদের আরও রোহিতের প্রয়োজন’।

Forget 2016, CPI(M) will not come to power even in 3016: Mamata Banerjee

Trinamool Chairperson Ms Mamata Banerjee today slammed the violence in the name of protests by CPI(M) in Kolkata during their Nabanna Abhiyan. She was speaking at the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad Foundation Day rally.

She remarked that CPI(M) will not come to power in Bengal in 3016, let alone 2016.

“Those who were engaged in vandalism and violence yesterday should see today’s rally and learn discipline. Protests do not mean goondagiri. We have also protested when we were in Opposition. We never resorted to violence,” she said.

“The people have rejected the CPM. There is no bigger judge in democracy than the people. We do not support the culture of bandhs. We believe in good governance,” she added.

She praised the police for showing extreme restraint although they were beaten with bricks and sticks. She challenged the CPI(M) to fight politically instead of using violence.

“Challenge us with work, culture and duty, we will accept it. We do not believe in vandalism,” she said.

“Have they forgotten how they used to torture Opposition activists? How many times police fired on Opposition rallies? During Singur, they wanted to ensure lone TMC MP is eliminated. Today we have 46 MPs in Parliament,” Didi said.

She said people have rejected the archaic politics of disruption and terror. “Why did they not create jobs for students and youth for 34 years,” she demanded to know.

Mamata Banerjee Unplugged

Mamata Banerjee – she is the Chairperson of Trinamool Congress, the Chief Minister of West Bengal. She has been featured in TIME magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world. She is an epicentre of energy.

She is fondly called Didi by the people. Apart from her political self, there also is another Mamata Banerjee – one who loves to paint, write or play music on a tablet.

Here are some excerpts from an interview with Mamata Banerjee. Come discover the other side of Mamata…


Q: At the very outset, Didi wish you Shubho Noboborsho

MB: Subho Noboborsho to you too. I want to extend my greetings to Maa, Mati, Manush of Bengal. Noboborsho signifies the beginning of a new chapter. In the words of Tagore, “Esho esho, amar ghore esho”. I hope everyone stays healthy and safe.


Q: Is it true that you started your career as a teacher?

MB: I used to teach a few poor kids in my locality to run my family. My father had passed away when I was young. I had to pay for my education also. I loved teaching poor students who could not afford to go to schools. I have taught many students without taking any money.


Mamata Banerjee with school kids

Mamata Banerjee with school students


Q: Your life is one of struggle

MB: When my father was alive, there was no struggle. We managed well. My father was a very kind-hearted man. Whenever he got chocolates for us, he distributed the same to all kids in the locality. We have imbibed this habit from him.

I have spent all my life in Kalighat. I have grown up here. When Muktijuddho was going on, we were in school. My father used to listen to the news on the radio and tell us stories of Mukti Bahini and India’s freedom struggle. He used to tell us stories of Tagore, Nazrul, Masterda, Swami ji, Netaji.

This instilled the spirit of patriotism in me. After my father passed away, I decided to join Chhatra Parishad. We also saw the ugly side of politics in college. There was a lot of violence, we saw many people being led astray in Naxal movement.


Mamata Banerjee Hunger Strike

Mamata Banerjee on hunger strike


Q: You have a special attraction towards Birbhum, your mamabari

MB: It is not true. Entire Bengal, specially rural Bengal, enjoys a special place in my heart. I love all the districts. I have hardly stepped out of Bengal or  India. I love Bengal.

It is true that we used to spend our vacations in our mamabari. There we learnt the custom of Nabanna (spring harvest). Inspired by that I have named the Secretariat as Nabanna. Rural life was very simple.


Q: Your first political success came in 1984

MB: Chhatra Parishad unit in our college was always very proactive. We went through a lot of struggle. We were always ready for a political fight. Our struggle created an example for entire Bengal. We had dedication. We raised our own funds to run the organisation.

The plenary session of Congress was held in 1983. By that time I had taken active part in several movements against Left Front. Also, our family was always politically very aware. In the panchayat elections, I campaigned across Bengal with Subrata Da (Subrata Mukherjee).

I am a committed worker. When no one else was ready to fight against Somnath Chatterjee, and the party gave me the duty, I said yes.


Mamata Banerjee 1984

Mamata Banerjee elected to Parliament


Q: Your experience in Parliament at such an early age

MB: We came from a humble background. We had Bengali-medium education. My fear was how to speak in English. I spent a lot of time in the House and gained a lot of knowledge.

I remember a particular incident. People of Jadavpur had asked me to raise the issue of land for refugees. Half an hour discussion was going on in the Parliament. I demanded to raise the issue of giving land plots to refugees unconditionally. The Speaker asked me to submit a separate notice, which I did. That was the beginning of my stint in Parliament.


Q: The formation of Trinamool Congress in 1997

MB: I do not believe in bowing down. In 1997 when I noticed that my party leadership was just wasting time and was not eager to listen to our grievances, we decided enough is enough. We were determined to form a new party. Congress tried to prevent me from founding a new party. Even before Congress expelled me on 22 December, 1997, we submitted documents to the Election Commission.

Mamata Banerjee Nabaneer Widow

Mamata Banerjee with senior citizens during Durga Puja


Q: Emergence of the name Trinamool Congress

MB: In 1997, when the Congress convention was going on at Netaji Indoor Stadium, we organised an outdoor convention. We believed in working for grassroots people. We wanted to work for common people. That is why we chose the name Trinamool. Even the symbol represents ghasphool. The symbol was sketched by Ajit Da (Ajit Panja) and me.


Q: You spend Poila Boishakh and Durga Puja at home every year

MB:  I cannot stay anywhere else. I will always spend Poila Boishakh at home every year. Even Durga Pujo… I do not keep any engagement on such occasions. We even have Kali puja at home every year.


Mamata Banerjee kali puja

Mamata Banerjee offering prayers at Dakshineshwar


Q: Tell us about the Hazra attack in 1990

MB:  That was just a beginning. I have been through many attacks. I am committed to politics. There was an attack on us when were protesting against adulterated oil in Behala.

The government used to snoop on us. They had kept people to follow me wherever I went. They were plotting to kill us. Even Rajiv ji was aware of this and wanted me to take police protection.

There was a bandh on 16 August, 1990. My mother was apprehensive and did not want me to step out of home. I tiptoed out of the house without informing her. We took out a rally from Hazra when we were attacked by a gang of goons. I got blows on my head and started bleeding. I covered my head with my hand and saved myself.


Q: 21 July is a significant date in your political career

MB: On 21 July 1993, we had a rally to Writers’ Buildings. Thousands of people were marching with us. Police fired shots at us to disperse the crowds. I was beaten black and blue. Some CPM cadre may also have been there is uniform. They tried to kill me that day.

I can never forget the Garden Reach incident also. We went to meet a family which was the victim of CPM’s terror. They surrounded our car and pelted stones at us. They climbed the bonnet of the car and tried to assault us. Suddenly we heard gunshots. Somehow we managed to escape.


Mamata Banerjee Hazra

The Hazra attack, 1990


We had to undergo a lot of struggle. Some people who have got everything on a silver platter do not value the struggle we have undergone.  These are challenging years. Some media houses have taken up propaganda and slander. It is sad. We never cross our limits. These days they call us thieves and dacoits.

My life is one of struggle. I do not want to stop. Life means moving on. The more they attack us, the stronger our resolve will be. We have given the slogan “Bodla noy, bodol chai”. Despite the horror of 34 years of CPM rule, we did not harm their party workers. But today, people who cannot even win councillor elections are tearing our flags and playing the victim. This makes me sad as well as angry.


Q: Any regrets in life?

MB: Whatever I have achieved in life is because of the blessings of people. Since we had a humble upbringing, we have learned to be simple, we learned to respect everyone. During our childhood, we did not have any scope of education in English. But children are lucky now. I tell people there is no need to be afraid of grammar. No one speaks perfect and grammatically correct English.


Q: You have named your bag Jangalmahal

MB: (Laughs) I love Jangalmahal. It is my pride. In the bag I carry everything that I need in my daily life. I even carry medicines; once they came in handy when I cured a reputed doctor of pain in his waist (smiles).


Mamata Banerjee Jangalmahal Bag

Mamata Banerjee with her bag


Q: You can also cook well

MB: When I was in Delhi, I used to cook regularly. Not anymore. Whenever I get time, I try to cook. It is an art. I love to do housework also.


Q: Pressure tactics by other parties don’t work on you

MB: I cannot be intimidated. No one can use pressure tactics to make me do something. If you show me CBI, ED etc. I will show you the power of people. Democracy is of the people, for the people, by the people. They are my strength. I bow my head to them.


Q: At any public event, you never sit still at one place

MB: I believe in direct eye-to-eye interaction with the public. I can never read out from any paper. This is my habit. If I am standing on the left, the people on the right cannot see me, and vice versa. So I like to go around the stage. I believe in being spontaneous.


Mamata Banerjee with kids

Mamata Banerjee with kids in north Bengal


Q: You have lost weight. You hardly eat and survive only on tea. You also walk a lot…

MB: (Smiles) I walk on the treadmill for 8 KM in the morning. I love to walk. It has become my habit. I love to eat muri and fish at night. I do not eat junk food.


Q: Your idols in life:

MB: It is a huge list that includes Rabindranath, Nazrul, Netaji, Masterda, Swami ji, Ramakrishna, other dharma gurus… Who do I name and who do I leave out?


Q: You also love music…

MB: Yes, I love music. I listen to music whenever I am travelling. It is my life. It is an inspiration. It rejuvenates my mind. I listen to all genres of music. My father had a lot of LP records; I imbibed my love for music from him.

Sometimes I play music on the tablet when I have time. I also check Twitter, Facebook whenever I get time. I do not watch any news channels. I derive information on what is happening around the world from these social media channels.


Mamata Banerjee nature

Mamata Banerjee capturing a slice of nature

Q: You are a great writer. Please read a few lines of your poem for us

MB: Here are a few lines from my favourite poem Mati:

Mati amar moner fosol

Mati amar bhor

Mati moder matribhumi

Mati moder jor.

E mati moder Lokkhir panchali

E mati Saraswati

E mati sobar, tomar-amar

E mati bhobisyoter goti.