Mamata dares Buddhadeb to face-to-face debate

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday dared WB CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to a face-to-face debate on the performance of the Railway Ministry under .

Last Updated: Mar 26, 2011, 23:45 PM IST

Kolkata: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata
Banerjee on Saturday dared West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee to a face-to-face debate on the performance of
the Railway Ministry under her following allegations by him
that it was being run whimsically and was no model for the
state.

"In the last one and half years of my tenure what I have
done there will be a revolution in Railways. I have given
vision to the Railways. Has he given any vision to develop
the state? He has done nothing ... Let there be a debate with
me face-to-face where I will counter all his allegations,"
Banerjee told a Bengali TV channel here.
CPI-M could also send its `experts` for a debate with
her, Banerjee said.

Referring to CPI-M`s charges against her, she said "I
have provided railway connectivity to the entire state. Unless
there is good communication, how will infrastructure develop?
Duronto trains have been introduced and are also being
criticised. I have given 17 industries (for West Bengal).
Still, I am being abused as they (CPI-M) are jealous of my
performance in Railways.

"I have given notification for employment of 1.87 lakh
people. Only because of the Election Commission, the
notification (model code of conduct) is stalled. It (the
employment process) will start in May-June," she said.

She also described as `baseless` the chief minister`s
claim that many of the projects announced by her did not have
sanction from the union Finance Ministry and that Railways
did not have the money to construct these factories.

Stating that the TC-Congress alliance were targeting
to win all 294 seats, Banerjee said "there will be
polarisation between the Left Front and our alliance and there
will be no other force."

On Congress facing rebellion within its rank over the
seat-sharing deal with TC with many leaders threatening to
contest as Independents, she appealed to the people not to
waste their votes on them as, she claimed, they were backed by
CPI-M in a bid to divide anti-Left votes.

"We had witnessed this in 2001 also when we forged the
alliance with Congress. But 2001 and 2011 are not same. They
will be rejected by the people," the TC chief said.
She expressed the confidence that people would vote
for a change to end the 35-year`s of `misrule` of the
CPI(M)-led government.

"The CPI(M) government is in a state of comma. It is
now on life support. There would be no use of giving oxygen or
blood. The cremation will take place on May 13 (the day of
counting)", she said.
Banerjee alleged that CPI(M) and BJP have entered into
a secret deal in a bid to defeat her candidates.

"They (CPI(M) and BJP) have identified 18
constituencies including those in the border district of North
24 Paraganas in a bid to defeat the Trinamool," she said.

"As part of the understanding, BJP will campaign that
they are the champions of Hindutva in a bid to woo the
Hindus," she said.

Turning her guns on the Marxists, she said Karl Marx
used to champion the cause of the have-nots. But the CPI(M)
here have been torturing the have-nots.

She claimed the CPIM has been able to cling to power
by resorting to `scientific rigging` in previous assembly
polls, but this time they would not succeed.

Banerjee said the fact that a majority of CPI(M) MLAs
did not opt to contest this time was an expression of
no-confidence to the party in power before the elections.

The TC chief said those who did not want change, would
vote for the Left. "But no vote should be wasted."

On the rebel Congress leaders threatening to contest
as Independents, she said, "They are the like cuckoos who
appear in spring and contest as independents when elections
come just to help CPI(M)."

Banerjee entered into a seat-sharing deal with
Congress on her terms, leaving Congress 65 seats out of the
total 294 to Congress. But the release of the list of Congress
candidates by the party high command in Delhi yesterday
sparked dissent in the state Congress.

Shankar Singh, Congress district president of Nadia,
has threatened to put up candidates in all 17 seats in the
district against TC candidates while Congress MP and
Murshidabad district chief Adhir Chowdhury said he would not
campaign for TC candidates.

PTI