Kolkata: Defending her government`s decision to have selected newspapers in state-run and aided libraries, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that it was done to promote small newspapers.
"This is the affair of a small department (Library Services). Its budget is only Rs 19 crore. From this books and newspapers have to be bought. Therefore we have to pick and choose. We cannot buy 200 newspapers.
We will promote small newspapers," the chief minister told reporters at
She said that in addition to eight specified
newspapers another five have been included such as an English
daily and a Nepali daily.
Speaking about the flak that the circular on libraries
drew, she said "this is a systematic, unfair and dirty game
being played by a mischievous section.
"If large newspapers can determine what price they will
be sold and what its content will be, then the people`s
government also has its rights," she said.
Referring to the erstwhile Marxist rule in the state,
she said "CPI(M) spoke about the haves and havenots, but did
not promote small newspapers.
"Earlier during the previous Left Front regime, shops
were not allowed to open if they did not subscribe to
Ganshakti (CPI(M) mouthpiece)."
Stating that there was pressure on her because she was
against allowing SEZ and lifting of the land ceiling, the
chief minister claimed that this was affecting the business
interests of a section.
"During the Singur agitation when I went on a 26-day
fast, a section of the media was also against me and even
wanted my death. But I will not deviate from the manifesto."
She claimed that efforts were being made to spoil the
relations between "us and the central government and also
stall development when we are trying to bring West Bengal
back on the rails."
She said "when 13 youth were killed in police firing
during Left rule in the early 90`s and people were killed and
buried in Nandigram, those raising a hue and cry now did not
Asked if her government`s directive amounted to a
fatwa or censorship, she dismissed it saying it is not a
fatwa. "What the people want we will do."
She, however, said "I have not stated yet what the
people should read. But if there is conspiracy against my
government, I will dictate in future what papers should be
She said "I will not commit a mistake knowingly. When
the people will no longer want me I will go away."