Buddhadeb rebuts PM`s statement of non-performance

West Bengal CM said he was surprised by Prime Minister`s statement about the state govt`s "overall failure".

Updated: Apr 24, 2011, 15:43 PM IST

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said he was surprised by Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh`s statement about the state
government`s "overall failure".

"I am surprised at what the Prime Minister said
yesterday. I don`t know when he discovered that the state
government was not working," Bhattacharjee said at a `Meet-
the-Press` programme here and observed that the government`s
performance would be only judged by the people.

The Prime Minister, he said, had never complained to him
about his government`s alleged non-performance during his
meetings in Delhi.

Rather, Singh was always eager to know about the progress
in land distribution, new industries in the state and the
proposed investment in the state by Japan, he said.

"The Prime Minister had come to the state to campaign
for the Assembly elections. He had to follow his party`s
line," Bhattacharjee said.

The chief minister said he was also surprised by Singh`s
another comment that Muslims in West Bengal were worse off
than those in Gujarat.

"I did not expect such comments from Singh. Muslims in
our state live in peace and harmony; whereas those in Gujarat
live in a state of uncertainty.

Besides, Muslims in our state get scholarships and
business loans. No state gives the kind of loans that the
Muslims get from the West Bengal Minority Development
Corporation," he claimed.

Bhattacharjee also dismissed the Prime Minister`s comment
that West Bengal`s literacy rate was below that of Manipur and
Nagaland, saying the state`s literacy rate was 77 per cent,
which was higher than the national average of 76 per cent.

Referring to Singh`s assurance that steps would be taken
to upgrade the Presidency College if the Congress-Trinamool
Congress alliance came to power, the chief minister said, "We
have upgraded Presidency College to a university. The Centre
did not do it. We have plans to further upgrade Presidency
into a centre of excellence."

Bhattacharjee said that the Prime Minister, in his
election rallies at Katwa and Dum Dum yesterday, did not touch
upon the issues of price rise, corruption or Maoist threat.

"I know that the Prime Minister is unhappy that work for
the Eastern Freight Corridor could not be started in two
years, but he did not mention it. Also, he is unhappy about
the agitation at Singur, but he did not mention it," the
Chief Minister said.

When pointed out that the Prime Minister had once
described him as the `best` chief minister in the country, he
said, "May be, he changed his mind on the eve of the election.
This is not unusual. After all, he attended a public meeting
and had to say something."

Asked if he had any message for Singh for his comments
yesterday, Bhattacharjee replied in the negative, saying, "He
is the Prime Minister. He is doing his job and I am doing