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Here’s why India’s first transgender college principal has resigned from her post

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s first transgender college principal Manabi Bandopadhyay has submitted her resignation after about one-and-a-half years in office, expressing frustration at “non-cooperation” of a section of teachers and students of her institution.Nadia District Magistrate Sumit Gupta today said he had received her letter of resignation from the post of Principal of Krishnagar Women’s College in the district on December 27 and forwarded it to the state Higher Education department yesterday. Manabi alleged that she started facing non-cooperation from a section of teachers soon after she took over as the principal of the well-known women’s college on June 9, 2015. On the other hand, the teachers also levelled the same allegation against the principal, resulting in a standoff.A four-member team, led by Joint Director of Public Instruction (DPI) RP Bhattacharjee, visited the college recently on a fact-finding mission and talked to the principal and teachers.Manabi said, “All of my colleagues went against me. Some of the students went against me. I tried to bring back discipline and an atmosphere of education in the college. Most probably, that is why they went against me. I always got co-operation from the local administration, but never got it from my colleagues and students.”She went on to say that she had been under tremendous mental pressure and could not take it anymore, forcing her to resign. “I feel tired due to the agitation and gherao by the students and teachers. I faced a lot of legal notices from their end. I had come to this college with new hopes and dreams but I was defeated…,” she said. Manabi (51), whose earlier name was Somnath, underwent a series of operations in 2003-2004 and became a woman. In 1995, she published the country’s first transgender magazine, ‘Ob-Manab’ (sub-human).

HRD panel finds Teesta Setalvad culpable for ‘spreading hatred’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A committee set up the HRD Ministry has found activist Teesta Setalvad culpable for “hatred-filled, disharmony-spreading, ill-will generating, enmity-creating explosive writings”.The then HRD Minister Smriti Irani had in 2015 formed a three-member panel comprising Supreme Court lawyer Abhijit Bhattacharjee, Gujarat Central University Vice Chancellor S A Bari and a ministry official Gaya Prasad to look into allegations against NGO Sabrang Trust, based on a complaint. The panel has submitted its report to the current HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.According to sources, the committee has recommended in its report that there is compelling evidence to book Teesta under sections 153-A and 153-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), both pertaining to hate speeches.Any person booked under the said sections can be punished with jail terms and fine.The panel is also believed to have raised questions over the manner in which the amount was allocated to the trust “Sarva Siksha Abhiyan” by the previous UPA government. It is learnt that the NCERT, which was the appraiser of the particular project, had raised some objections yet the ministry sanctioned Rs 3 crore for the project.Sources said while the committee has not found any misappropriation of the funds, it has blamed the ministry for the manner in which the amount was sanctioned in the previous dispensation and if the panel’s recommendations are accepted, the officials then involved in the process can also face action.Setalvad, when contacted, claimed the allegations of misappropriation of funds could not be proved and to counter that charges of spreading hatred have been levelled. “In typical proto fascist style allegations have covered the infamous misappropriation of funds to now spreading hatred. Creating hatred…against whom? The RSS? The charge of misappropriation obviously could not be proven and so it is now down to this,” she told PTI in an email response.While HRD ministry officials did not comment on the contents of the report, they confirmed its submission.HRD ministry had also sought an opinion from the Law Ministry over the issue and is awaiting a response following which a final decision will be taken by Javadekar in this regard.In June, the Ministry of Home Affairs had cancelled the licence of the NGO under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010.The trust also faces the allegation of using Ford grant to identify and lobby with media persons to “address communalism and caste-based discrimination in India”.

Time for a change again, say Bengal’s intellectuals who wanted a change in state politics in 2011

It was just five years ago that intellectuals of Bengal had whole-heartedly championed the historic change in the state politics. Troubled by the alleged ‘misrule’ of the erstwhile left front government, they had welcomed the change of power at the helm of the state, some even campaigned for it.Year 2016, the poll bound state looks no different. Many of the state’s well-known intellectuals who once stood for the change, are pressing for a change once again.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>So what went wrong ?Film and theatre actor Kaushik Sen, for instance, is vocal about his views. Talking to dna, Sen reveals that before last elections, he had maintained that the civil society groups of Bengal should form a separate society, instead of supporting a specific political party.”However, many of us went ahead in supporting the Trinamool Congress. The problem with the ruling party is that it is not exactly a party. It is a kind of club, or a platform which doesn’t have a philosophy,” he says.Sen, since the last few years, has brought out his protest against TMC through a variety of plays like Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Greek playwright Sophocles’ Antigone.He, however, admits that chief minister Mamata Banerjee does have a history and have come up through a lot of struggle.”So even if she has some good intentions, she is surrounded by a bad team. She is not a statesman, because at some point, she will have to accept her team. What has come out of that is not good governance,” Sen says, adding that it reflects in the insecurity of women in the state and has failed to deal with unemployment.”At any given place, political syndicates operate in every sphere without fear. Without a job, most youths here get pulled into these syndicates to act as the local muscleman,” he says.Sen has also organised meetings with neutral people and had held press conferences to create awareness on the subject. He, along with other civil society members and the group ‘Save Democracy’ had recently visited the state election commissioner to complain about the bouts of violence reported in the last three phases of the state polls.Renowned painter Samir Aich, who was also part of the group that went to the EC, admitted that he, like many other citizens of Bengal, wanted a ‘poriborton’ or change in the 2011 West Bengal elections. Aich says the last few years of the left front rule was problematic in many sectors, especially in that of health, education and industries.”The violence went up in the last few years. That’s when Mamata Banerjee came into the picture. People thought she can get residents some relief,” Aich recalls.”I soon realised she has lied. The first instance of that was her comments during the Park Street rape case. Then there was the case of Mir Amirul Islam (social activist), when he self-immolated himself outside the Karaya thana. There are syndicates, rapes and a sense of insecurity everywhere,” Aich, who has made several paintings to voice his protest, said.Aich and Sen, however, did not voiced their support for any political party this election.”Let the masses decided what option they want against the TMC,” Aich says.Talking about options against the TMC, Sen says he has many questions about the Congress and left alliance.”Both the parties have different philosophies, which do not meet. However, if they get a substantial number os seats, they will at least form a strong opposition, which is important for a democracy,” Sen says.Bengali poet Mandakranta Sen, on the other hand, is campaigning for the Congress and CPI(M) alliance. She had addressed many public gatherings and had recited many of her poems which protests against the TMC. Sen had returned her Sahitya Academi award last year protesting intolerance and author MM Kalburgi’s murder.”I never had any expectation from Didi. I knew very well that the TMC will start falling apart within days. Even they knew that and that’s the reason they had rigged every election in Bengal after the assembly elections, whether it was the municipality or the panchayat elections,” she alleged.But is the alliance better than the TMC?Sen says yes, but denied joining party politics. “I have joined politics. There is no getting back from here. But I don’t intend to join any party,” she says.Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee, however, thinks differently. “I don’t have any political views. There are few intellectuals who still stand with Trinamool,” he says.And he is right.Mamata Banerjee does have a steady steam of supporters among a separate group of intellectuals. Many of them such as theatre activist Arpita Ghosh, artist Subhaprasanna Bhattacharjee, theatre personalities Shaoli Mitra and veteran painter Jogen Chowdhury have stuck with Banerjee through thicks and thins. Indeed, they have been rewarded handsomely by Didi; they are either an MLA or MP today, or members of different committees with the central government.

West Bengal Elections 2016: CPI-M’s Buddhadeb & Rahul Gandhi share stage, call for saving state from TMC

Striking a rare show of bonhomie, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday shared the stage with veteran CPI-M leader and former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee amid slogans calling for long life for the Congress-Left unity to save Bengal.As the supporters of both parties shouted slogans in favour of the alliance, Gandhi was seen holding hands of Bhattacharjee, whom the former chief minister twice addressed as “dear Rahul Gandhi”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A huge garland was placed around the two leaders, the architects of the Congress-Left alliance. Acknowledging that it is a rare show, Bhattacharjee said as much, “People of Bengal have seen many rallies. But this rally where I stand together with Rahul Gandhi is rare in history. The Congress and CPI-M are fighting together.” Justifying the need for the alliance, Bhattacharjee explained, “Why are we standing together? Because Bengal is facing a grave danger and we all need to fight together to save Bengal.” Bhattacharjee and Gandhi both waved at the crowd who raised slogans, “Trinamool Hatao Bangla Bachao” (remove Trinamool, save Bengal). The red flag fluttered along with that of the Congress and giant cut-outs of the two leaders adorned the platform on the ground. “We can’t fight alone, that is why we have to fight together against the government of anti-socials. This government has destroyed the economy of the state. Whether industry or mills, nothing has come up in the preceding five years. They are trying to rule by creating terror, by initimaditing media and political parties,” Bhattacharjee said. Bhattacharjee reminisced about how former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had helped the CPI-M-led Left Front in setting up Panchayat system in Bengal. “We need to stop this misrule and misgovernance. We will bring back democracy. We want industry for the lakhs of unemployed youths of Bengal. We need to bring back the democratic set-up,” he said. Rahul Gandhi launched attack on both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying they had not taken any action against corruption and made “false promises”. “Poor people’s money was swindled by Saradha chit fund company, but Mamata ji has not taken any action. Rather, she protected those involved in it,” he said.Both Gandhi and Bhattacharjee expressed confidence about the victory of Congress-Left alliance. Rahul Gandhi too targeted Banerjee while he vowed all-out support for the alliance candidates. “The symbol of this Mamata Banerjee government is corruption. The collapse of the Vivekananda Road flyover is symbolic of the corruption prevailing in the West Bengal government,” he said.According to Gandhi, the alliance is against corruption. And once it is in power, it will ensure that the guilty – be it the building material supply cartels responsible for providing sub-standard materials in flyovers, those involved in multi crore Saradha scam or the legislators and leaders allegedly caught taking bribes in Narada tapes – will be brought to book.”Mamataji you failed to take action against corruption in the last five years. But the alliance will not fail after we come to power. All those guilty will be punished. It is a promise,” he said.Gandhi also tore into Banerjee’s oft-repeated phrases of “concocted incidents” and “false claims”. “The only thing concocted is your development claims in Bengal. What is fake is your mock-fights with PM (Narendra) Modiji,” he said. Gandhi also lashed out at Modi for not visiting the drought-hit Vidarbha and taking on foreign tours. “Modiji does not have time to visit drought-hit Vidarbha, but is visiting foreign countries. He didn’t keep his poll promise of giving Rs 15 lakh to every Indian. Rather, he is wearing a suit of Rs 15 lakh,” he said.

‘Confident’ Assam CM Tarun Gogoi starts future planning before poll results

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who has declared the current assembly elections as his last, will decide whether to continue in office after two years if he is elected again.”After two years, I will take a decision on how I will continue in the party. I will decide if I will remain as a CM for the next five years or not, ” he said asserting that he will win a fourth consecutive term.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Accordingly, I will take my next step,” Gogoi told PTI in an interview. The 80-year-old politician had already announced that this Assembly election will be his last participation in electoral democracy.”I will not fight the next election. Congress has to fight without me,” he said. Gogoi, however, did not specify whom the party or he is nurturing to take the baton from his hand.”We do not nurture anyone. Many leaders are there after me. Leaders emerge out of masses,” he added.Asked for a few names, the Chief Minister said, “There are many capable leaders — Anjan Dutta, Paban Singh Ghatowar, Bhubaneswar Kalita, Ripun Bora, Pradyut Bordoloi and Rakibul Hussain. Probably, my successor will be from these leaders.” Though he did not elaborate, Gogoi appreciated the way former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu had handed over the post to his trusted Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in the middle of a term so that the latter could prepare the ground.

Kolkata flyover tragedy: Another IVRCL official under Police scanner

Another senior officer of the Hyderabad-based construction company IVRCL is under scanner of the Kolkata Police investigating the collapse of Vivekananda flyover last week killing 26 people and injuring around 89.IVRCL assistant vice-president of Project Monitoring Cell (PMC) and administration of the Eastern Region, Ranajit Bhattacharjee, who had fallen sick and was hospitalised after March 31 collapse, was today discharged and was immediately taken to the Kolkata Police headquarters at Lalbazar.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Today he has been discharged from the hospital and we have brought him in for questioning in connection with the collapse,” a senior officer of Kolkata Police said adding if the IVRCL official’s replies were “unsatisfactory” he could also be arrested.Eight officers of IVRCL have been arrested under IPC sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) and others.Sleuths have arrested Project Manager Tanmoy Sil and conducted a thorough search of IVRCL’s Beadon Street office yesterday and have seized several documents.During the probe into the role of arrested senior engineers of IVRCL Shyamal Manna and Bidyut Manna it was learnt that they were in-charge of construction of the portion of the flyover, which collapsed.”Shyamal was in-charge of construction operations in the previous night and Bidyut overtook the charge next morning… Shyamal had a miraculous escape. When the flyover collapsed, he was standing on it. He managed by jumping from there and clinging on to a girder at the other end of the flyover and saved himself,” the officer said.Kolkata Police sources said labourers at the flyover site had warned Shyamal about some problems with bolts and had urged to stop work.”But Shyamal spoke to somebody over phone and instructed the workers to carry on… We need to check this and who ordered the work to go on,” an officer probing the mishap, said.Meanwhile, a city court today ordered seven-day police custody of both Shyamal and Bidyut Manna till April 11.The Police have registered a case against the construction firm and sealed its office in the city.

TMC makes a clean sweep in poll posters wars

If the fight for West Bengal is restricted to the election posters of political parties dotting the city’s streets and by lanes, the ruling Trinamool Congress may just have its way.West Bengal started its first phase of polls in 18 constituencies across the state on Monday, but locals say bunches of election posters had already cropping up across the city as early as February.The unique feature of West Bengal’s poll poster war is that it is only about posters of TMC and its chief Mamata Banerjee, whose smiling face is a stark feature on them.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A trip around the West Bengal capital shows a remarkably higher number of TMC posters on display along its roads, on the shops and even medians of roads, making the other posters insignificant.Though far behind the ruling party, BJP comes second in terms of its outdoor presence. However, neither the CPI(M), not the Congress has been able to make any significant presence felt on the roads of Kolkata.The situation, however, is a little different in the rural areas of west Midnapore and Siliguri in north Bengal –both CPI(M) strongholds before the last 2011 state elections –where the left party has some visibility.Political observers attribute the overwhelming outdoor presence of the ruling party to the party’s quick decision on there candidates.”The TMC was fast. They had decided on their candidates in advance. So, the moment the polling dates were announced by the election commission, they were the first to put up posters with their candidates on them. While other parties were struggling to take a call on their candidates, TMC had already occupied prime poster locations,” a poll analyst said.Speaking to dna, a top TMC functionary agreed that the party had indeed planned their poll campaign well in advance and had all secured permissions on time.Unlike other states, poll posters in the state are bereft of much creativity. Most TMC posters, for instance, carry a huge picture of Banerjee, alongside a smaller picture of the local party legislator contesting the poll, with a blunt caption seeking votes.Another TMC source said, “Didi (Banerjee) is someone who people of West Bengal can easily relate to and hence her pictures find prominence on the posters.”Banerjee is indeed the fierce, local, Bengali-speaking face of her party, an important factor which has helped the party fare well in the last couple of polls, including the general as well as the civic elections.The BJP, which is trying hard to make an entry in West Bengal has displayed a few posters in Kolkata and rural Bengal. However, most of them are lost in deluge of TMC posters.Talking to dna, Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP general secretary admitted it is important to have a better outdoor visibility ahead of elections. “We had put up many posters, but they are constantly being removed by the TMC workers,” he alleged.”Even the municipal corporation is leaving out TMC posters and tearing away ours,” Vijayvargiya said.The limited number of BJP posters visible across the state features prime minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, along with the local candidate of the constituency. The party lacks a local, easily approachable, Bengali face in the state, which according poll observers, will go against the party.BJP workers, however, defended the stance to project Modi as the BJP’s face saying that the PM and the ‘development’ he brought along will fill in for the absence of a local face, and that people would easily relate to him.Similarly, CPI(M) and Congress alliance lacks any significant outdoor presence this election season in the city, even though they have some presence in rural constituencies of the state.A CPI(M) source said the party has never had the culture of putting out huge posters and this year, too, is no different.However, party insiders revealed that left party’s lack of poll posters is because they don’t have a prominent face to project this time. Former chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee was the party’s face last time.”The party leadership had approached renowned Bengali actor Soumitra Ghosh and even theatre personality Kaushik Sen to be the face for the party, but both had turned down the offer,” an insider revealed. However, a unique feature of political campaigning in West Bengal –colorful wall graffiti – is an aspect where the opposition has tried to catch up with the TMC to an extent. Not only Kolkata, but in rural localities as well as the northern part of the state, hundreds of wall paintings of individual political parties on fences as well as walls of houses.However, in this aspect too, TMC fares better than others. For election wall graffiti, the EC had made it mandatory for political parties or secure permission of house owners.”Out of fear, most people give permission to the TMC to paste poster on their houses,” a Congress worker alleged.

West Bengal Elections 2016: Buddhadeb Bhattarcharjee says people want Left-Congress alliance to beat Mamata’s TMC

Pitching for an alliance with Congress in the coming assembly elections in West Bengal, CPI(M) leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Thursday said people want such a tie-up to oust Trinamool Congress from power. “… Lots of people are talking about the alliance. You need to understand why people are talking about the alliance, because they are demanding that all of us fight together to oust TMC from power,” he said. “There may be differences – differences between people but there is a single point which is to defeat TMC. We all have to fight together,” Bhattacharjee said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CPI(M) state committee meeting tomorrow will take a call on electoral tactics, including the issue of alliance with Congress. This is the second time that the former chief minister has openly spoken in favour of an alliance. The first time was in January in a rally in Singur. He also lashed out at the Trinamool Congress government and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”If the (Nano) factory was set up in the state, the situation would have changed in Singur. Not a single industry had come up in Bengal in last four-and-a-half years. She is only spreading lies. The state is going backwards. They (TMC) have destroyed the health care, education system in Bengal,” he said.Earlier in the day, CPI(M)-led Left Front formally agreed to discuss the issue of the alliance with Congress, if it approached. CPI(M) organised the rally in Barrackpore in North 24-Parganas district to demand industrialisation in the area, which was once an industrial belt. Congress leaders from West Bengal were divided on a tie-up with the Left when party vice-president Rahul Gandhi held consultations with them.

West Bengal Elections 2016: Bengal Congress leaders await outcome of CPI(M) meet

Congress leaders in West Bengal are awaiting the outcome of CPI(M) state committee meeting next week on a possible alliance between the two parties for the coming assembly elections in the state.”We are eagerly waiting for the outcome of CPI(M) state committee meeting to be held on February 12 and 13. It is true that senior leaders have openly spoken in favour of alliance. But we feel there is need for an official stand (alliance with Congress) by CPI(M) as only then people of Bengal, who are opposed to TMC will have clarity,” said a senior state Congress leader on condition of anonymity. “We have done our bit. We have spoken to our party leadership and have appealed in favour of forging an alliance.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Now it is for CPI(M) to make their stand clear and official. Lets see what CPI(M) state committee and central committee decides,” another senior state Congress leader Abdul Manan told PTI. The issue gained momentum in the last two months after several senior CPI(M) leaders sent feelers to Congress for forging a tie-up to oust ruling Trinamool Congress from Bengal.Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra during public meetings had called upon Congress to join hands with the Left Front. CPI(M) will hold a two-day state committee meet from February 12 to take a final call on the issue of electoral tactics, including alliance with Congress for the coming assembly polls in West Bengal.The final decision on the issue of alliance will be taken by the party’s central committee. Congress leaders from West Bengal had unanimously rejected any alliance with TMC but remained divided on a tie-up with the Left when party Vice President Rahul Gandhi held consultations with them.

Proposal for possible alliance with Congress yet to come, says CPI

CPI on Sunday said no proposal by CPI(M) has so far been received or discussed in the Left Front regarding an alliance with Congress for the West Bengal Assembly polls.”Nobody held a meeting with us to discuss a possible electoral alliance with Congress. Even in the previous Left Front meetings, the matter was not discussed,” senior CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta told reporters at the conclusion of the party’s two-day state council meeting. Asked for CPI’s independent decision on the matter, he said, “Let there be such proposals first then we will decide on the matter.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We want to strengthen Left unity and it must not be compromised under any circumstances. We want to protect democracy in Bengal and in order to do it we have to do whatever is required to be done. If such proposal comes to us, we will take a call on it,” Dasgupta said. Referring to the CPI(M), CPI state secretary Prabodh Panda said, “The matter has to be discussed in the Left Front as the issue of alliance is with the Left Front not with any particular party.”The issue of alliance between Congress and the Left gained momentum in the last two months after several CPI(M) leaders sent feelers to Congress for forging a tie-up to oust ruling Trinamool Congress from Bengal. Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra during public meetings had called upon Congress to join hands with the Left Front.CPI(M) will hold a two-day state committee meet from February 12 to take a final call on the issue of electoral tactics including alliance with Congress for the coming assembly polls in West Bengal. Congress leaders from West Bengal had unanimously rejected any alliance with TMC but remained divided on a tie-up with the Left when party vice-president Rahul Gandhi held consultations with them.

Bengal Congress leaders meet Rahul, express desire to tie-up with Left to beat TMC

West Bengal Congress leaders today conveyed to party Vice President Rahul Gandhi the “sentiments of grassroots workers” seeking an alliance with the Left for the upcoming polls in the state even as there is speculation regarding such a tie-up for taking on the ruling TMC.”We presented all the facts during our meeting. It is not that I am an advocate of an alliance, but it is the pressure of the grassroots-level workers who are in favour of such a tie-up,” state Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury said over the phone after the interaction with Rahul in New Delhi. “Rahulji gave us a patient hearing and said he will discuss the matter with Congress President Sonia Gandhi. He said a final decision on the matter will be taken soon,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chowdhury said they have “communicated the desperate feeling of our party workers and common people in Bengal who want an alliance of Congress and Left in order to defeat Trinamool Congress and BJP in Bengal”.Rahul had summoned the state Congress leadership to New Delhi to discuss the political situation and possible alliance with Left in Bengal. “The meeting was very positive. None of the state leaders was for an alliance with TMC although one or two leaders expressed their opinion in favour of Congress contesting alone”, the WBPCC chief said even as he added that “(Gandhi’s) single-point agenda is to strengthen the party organisation”.”We told Rahulji how TMC had used us in 2011 and weakened our party since then. He also seemed to be aware of it,” state Congress general secretary Om Prakash Mishra said.Mishra had earlier written twice to the Congress president Sonia advocating an alliance with the Left.Apart from Chowdhury, state Congress leaders like Pradip Bhattacharya, Manas Bhunia, Abdul Manan, Deepa Dasmunshi, Mausam Benazir Noor and Abhijit Mukherjee were present for the meeting, besides some other senior leaders. Former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra have called upon Congress at public meetings to join hands with the Left Front to oust the TMC in the Assembly polls later this year.

Mamata Banerjee mocks CPM-Congress alliance talks

Apparently ridiculing the talk of a tie-up between Congress and CPI-M for the forthcoming assembly elections in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said masses want a “grand alliance of people”.”The masses want a grand alliance of the people. It has immense power. I respect that political party which thinks about people and goes along with the masses… I respect that party which does not talk about destruction. To carry everyone along is tolerance,” she said during a meeting here. Slamming CPI(M), Banerjee said, “Whenever there is an election, there is a party which comes out with poster saying this has to be done, that has to be done. But why didn’t you do it during your 34 years of rule?”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing confidence about returning to power, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief said that in four years, they have done what the CPI(M) could not do in so many years. “Whatever is left, we will do it in our next term.” In an obvious reference to former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s recent criticism that no industry was set up in the state during TMC’s rule, she retorted, “We love both agriculture and industry. They are siblings.” By calling frequent bandhs, Banerjee said, the Left had virtually ruined the state during its rule.”We believe in political ideology that’s not destructive but believes in creation. We abhor parties that leave behind skeletons and bodies,” she said. Also, in an apparent dig at BJP, the Chief Minister said, “Do not pay heed to those who play divisive politics. The heart cannot be divided. We are all one.”

Conflicting signals: After Buddhadeb calls for alliance with Congress, Brinda Karat rejects any such possibility

CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat on Monday said there was no possibility of her party forging an alliance with Congress in the upcoming West Bengal assembly elections.”Whatever is being said about an electoral alliance with Congress in West Bengal is speculation and there is no truth in it. There is no chance of going with Congress in Bengal,” Karat told reporters here. She, however, said the CPI(M) politburo would take a final call on the issue of alliance in five states going to polls at an appropriate time.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Virtually kicking off the party’s poll campaign in West Bengal, senior CPI(M) leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had on Saturday last sent out a message to Congress and other Left parties to join hands with Left Front to oust the ruling Trinamool Congress. Karat, who reached here in the morning to attend a seminar on Jharia Mines Fire Displaced, also criticised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party for “mishandling” the recent Malda flare-up.Banerjee, BJP and RSS are destroying the communal harmony established by CPI(M) in Bengal for political gains, she alleged. The CPI(M) leader held the BJP government responsible for the impasse on the GST Bill in Parliament. “It is the responsibility of the government to run Parliament keeping opposition in confidence,” she said.She also demanded that the Prime Minister should clear his stand on the Ram temple issue being raised by “several BJP leaders”. “The PM’s silence on the issue confirms his tacit support to them,” she alleged.

West Bengal: Despite feelers from CPI(M), Congress in no hurry to stich up alliance

AICC general secretary in charge of Bengal CP Joshi on Saturday said decisions on alliance for the coming Assembly polls in Bengal cannot be taken in haste and the party is in the process of taking opinions of its leaders and workers in the state on the issue.”Such decisions can’t be taken in a haste. We are in the process of taking opinions of vast sections of Congress workers and leaders. Once the process is complete, I will officially inform the matter of alliance to our party president Sonia Gandhi,” he told PTI. When asked to comment on frequent feelers by CPI(M) leaders for alliance, Joshi said, “We respect their views. But we have to take opinions about alliance from the cross section of our state leaders.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Joshi’s comments comes on a day when top CPI(M) leader and former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee called upon Congress and other Left parties to join hands with the CPI(M) to defeat Trinamool Congress.Bhattacharjee’s call to Congress came in the wake of similar statements by CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra and Politburo member Mohammad Salim.WBPCC general secretary Om Prakash Mishra had on Thursday written to Gandhi urging her to seize the opportunity and be at the forefront of the electoral and political battle with TMC and BJP.