Mamata dismisses charge of use of black money in polls

Trinamool Congress party chief Mamata Banerjee claimed the "wild accusations" would not cut much ice with the electorate.

Updated: Apr 22, 2011, 11:39 AM IST

Kolkata: Rubbishing charges that black
money was used to fund the Trinamool Congress` poll campaign
in West Bengal, party chief Mamata Banerjee today claimed the
"wild accusations" would not cut much ice with the electorate.

"What is the credibility of the CPI(M) and the people
making these allegations? The CPI(M) should be the last to
talk about corruption," she told PTI in an interview here when
pointed out that the Left has made corruption, especially the
2G and Commonwealth Games scams, a major poll issue.

"Those who have looted crores of rupees from all
corners of Bengal in the last three decades are making wild
accusations without any basis. The people will decide who is
telling the truth and who is making these desperate
allegations less than a few days before they become a big
zero.

"With the blessings of `Ma, Mati, Manush`, when we
assume responsibility, all dirty deals and overall financial
mess will be looked into," Banerjee said, stressing that
democracy and people will be the focus of her party.

Asked if the Railway ministry would continue to remain
with the party in the event of her becoming the CM, she
replied in the affirmative.

"The Railway Ministry will remain with our party after
the elections. So, all projects and plans that were announced
will be completed on time," she said.

On Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee`s stand that his
party would give support to the government and not join it in
case of the combine coming to power after the polls, she said,
"That is an internal issue of the Congress."

On Congress and Trinamool Congress rebels fighting as
independents against the Congress-TC alliance, she said, "The
people are making a clear choice in this election. They want
us to come to power. They will not waste a single vote in
favour of others contesting as rebels."

On tackling the Maoist and Gorkhaland problems, she
said, "Development is the answer to all problems. When people
have to survive on ant eggs, how will there be no unrest?
(sic)."

Stressing that her party would bring peace to the
Darjeeling hills through talks, Banerjee said, "We will have
as many talks as required.

"In the long term, the solution is better
opportunities and better facilities for the people of West
Bengal. And we will work for that. I have said this before. I
will visit both Darjeeling and Junglemahal within 100 days of
becoming chief minister." Banerjee pooh poohed West Bengal Chief Minister
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee`s claim that the Trinamool Congress
had no policy and that the Left was the only alternative to
the Left.

"That is the same Chief Minister who gave us Singur.
That is the same Chief Minister who gave us Nandigram. That is
the same Chief Minister who is now saying sorry for his
previous misdeeds. After Singur I do not think the people will
believe him if he says that he is pro farmer and pro worker."

On CPI(M)?s campaign that law and order would
deteriorate in the event of the Trinamool Congress and
Congress alliance coming to power and that women would not be
able to venture out onto the streets, the TC chief said, "This
is a regime during whose time innocent girls were raped,
mothers lost their sons, daughters their fathers, wives their
husbands.

"Netai massacre, Kashipur massacre, Sainbari massacre,
the list is long. Thousands of our party workers have been
killed. Bengal longs for peace. The people of Bengal know that
the shortest way to bring lasting peace is not through the
CPI(M)....they will only trust the Trinamool Congress. We will
definitely ensure that the law and order situation in the
state is good," she said.

On the size of her proposed ministry, the Trinamool
Congress chief said it would be small and not a jumbo sized
one. "I do not wish to reveal all plans now. But we have such
a plan in place.

"One of the ideas we are looking at is combining
ministries for more effective results," she said.

She claimed that the CP(M)-led Left Front government
has run up a debt of about Rs 2 lakh crore and it would pose
as a hurdle.

"The situation is very bad. They (LF government) is
diverting infrastructure funds to pay salaries. It will be a
challenge to correct this, but we will do it. Where there is a
will, there is a way.

"We have our plans for this. But, we will let you know
when the time comes. Recently the Centre gave additional funds
to save this government. Even then we are in this bad state,"
she said.

When pointed out that she would be creating history if
she could end the 34-year-old Communist regime, Banerjee said,
"We have fought this struggle for a long time. In 2001 and
2006 the people expressed their will, but for many years the
CPI(M) has not even allowed the people to express their will.

Even in 2006, very few people in the media supported us.
"But this time, we are certain that the people will
give us their complete support again. 294 (the strength of the
state Assembly) is the target for us (Trinamool Congress-
Congress alliance)."

Asked what the people of Bengal would get if her party
was voted to power, she replied, "We need to bring back the
glory of Bengal. We need peace. We need infrastructure. We
need development in infrastructure and health. Once all this
takes place, there will also be a cultural revival.

"We will introduce a four-tier infrastructure, which
will reach every district. A Knowledge Mission will be set up
to develop and retain talent in Bengal. We will revive
agriculture."

She said that 5-10 farm centres would be set up in
each district. "This will help the farmers who cannot hire
farming equipment. Subsidies will be provided and priority
will be given to the poor farmers and their families.

"We will rehabilitate the PSUs. These are just
examples. We have more plans for the state," she said.
Asked what role would Ma, Mati, Manush? (Mother,
earth and people slogan) play in the event of her coming to
power, She said, "Ma, mati, Manush will be our guiding
principle. We believe in development for all. We will do
everything that that we can to take Bengal back to its
glorious days."

On reviving the work culture in the state, she said it
can be done "by setting an example. If the leader is working
hard, then automatically everybody will also work hard".

On her contention that the police have been unionised,
she replied, "The police force has to be given back their
independence to function better for the people. I say, not all
police officers are bad. But so many of them are card-holding
cadres.

"Five very senior retired IPS officers are contesting
on Trinamool tickets. They will have a role to play in
cleaning up the system," she said.

When pointed out that she would be creating history if
she could end the 34-year-old Communist regime, Banerjee said,
"We have fought this struggle for a long time. In 2001 and
2006 the people expressed their will, but for many years the
CPI(M) has not even allowed the people to express their will.

Even in 2006, very few people in the media supported us.
"But this time, we are certain that the people will
give us their complete support again. 294 (the strength of the
state Assembly) is the target for us (Trinamool Congress-
Congress alliance)."

Asked what the people of Bengal would get if her party
was voted to power, she replied, "We need to bring back the
glory of Bengal. We need peace. We need infrastructure. We
need development in infrastructure and health. Once all this
takes place, there will also be a cultural revival.

"We will introduce a four-tier infrastructure, which
will reach every district. A Knowledge Mission will be set up
to develop and retain talent in Bengal. We will revive
agriculture."

She said that 5-10 farm centres would be set up in
each district. "This will help the farmers who cannot hire
farming equipment. Subsidies will be provided and priority
will be given to the poor farmers and their families.

"We will rehabilitate the PSUs. These are just
examples. We have more plans for the state," she said.

Asked what role would Ma, Mati, Manush? (Mother,
earth and people slogan) play in the event of her coming to
power, she said, "Ma, mati, Manush will be our guiding
principle. We believe in development for all. We will do
everything that that we can to take Bengal back to its
glorious days."

On reviving the work culture in the state, she said it
can be done "by setting an example. If the leader is working
hard, then automatically everybody will also work hard".

On her contention that the police have been unionised,
she replied, "The police force has to be given back their
independence to function better for the people. I say, not all
police officers are bad. But so many of them are card-holding
cadres.

"Five very senior retired IPS officers are contesting
on Trinamool tickets. They will have a role to play in
cleaning up the system," she said.

PTI