Its a slogan she stole from Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee but Mamata Banerjee has made Do it Now a mantra with a raw energy.
Several things stand out in her work during her first 100 days in office. But what runs through them all is a new energy that has kickstarted a churning. This is in stark contrast with the inertia that had made Left-ruled Bengal a state where nothing seemed to work.
Obviously, she is the prime mover of this change. Not a day passed over the last 100 days when she didnt visit places, do things or make policy announcements. This too at all sorts of venues — hospitals, streets, Writers Buildings, the Assembly or out in some district. And at all hours of the day and night. Compared with this chief minister in perpetual motion, Bhattacharjee was a slow coach.
Her political rivals too cant deny the churning that her energy has unleashed in the governments work. Ministers, bureaucrats and government employees at different levels may not match her energy but they know they cannot afford to be slothful or shirk work. Her ways of prodding others to work harder and faster have been somewhat unconventional, but these seem to work.
A week may be a long time in politics, but a new government isnt really expected to change things dramatically in 100 days. So what exactly has she achieved in her first 100 days?
She has compiled her own list of achievements. But a couple of things are obvious even to casual observers. Jungle Mahal no longer reports an average of two bodies lying on the road, although the Maoists havent disappeared from the scene.
An agreement has put an end to the violence in Darjeeling. Mamata has fulfilled her promise to return land to those whose plots were acquired forcibly by the previous government for the aborted Nano project in Singur. It is another matter that the actual handover of the plots was stalled because of the court case.
The CPM has its complaint about the killing of 30-odd supporters since the elections, but the party has struggled to find big holes in Mamatas rule so far. Her handling of political rivals has raised some hope that Bengals notorious culture of violent political confrontation and one-party hegemony may slowly be replaced by dialogue and debate.
Of course, the biggest change is still a promise — but Mamatas vision of a bandh-free Bengal is the best idea that has been put forward during her first 100 days.
Her critics could, of course, argue that some of these were predictable changes. Both in Darjeeling and in Jungle Mahal, the agitators were angry with the CPM and made common cause with the Trinamul Congress. It was widely anticipated that the situations in the two places would change, at least for some time, once she came to power.
The really big challenges that Mamata faces are different. The first is to dismantle the party society that the CPM built in Bengal and that ultimately proved the biggest reason for its undoing.
If she got a huge mandate in the last elections, it was primarily an explosion of the pent-up anger against the CPMs imposition of the party society. Her challenge is to let society return to a normal state in which the ruling party does not control everything in your life.
How has she fared in meeting this challenge? The record has been mixed so far. The Trinamul Congress has replaced the CPM as the big shadow over peoples lives in towns and villages. Mamatas exhortation to the business community not to pay protection money to her party leaders shows how serious the problem is becoming.
There have also been complaints that their support for Trinamul is considered the most important criterion for the selection of government nominees in governing bodies of colleges.
Yet, Mamata has shown an early promise for de-politicising education in her appointment of two committees — the mentor group for Presidency University and another for higher education.
What she does with education is of crucial importance, not just for education but also for the future of Bengals economy and society. After all, education was the most important vehicle for the CPM to impose the party society.
It wasnt simply a matter of distributing school, college and university jobs to the cadres and the partys sympathisers. But then, this is not something Mamata, even with all her energy, could achieve in 100 days.
The other big challenge is to settle the land-for-industry issue. Its one thing to win elections on a strident call to oppose the acquisition of all agricultural land and quite another to tackle the issue as the ruling party. Its still unclear if the chief ministers land policy is good enough to attract investments for Bengals industrialisation.
During her election campaign, Mamata talked of creating 10 lakh jobs in two years. Her election manifesto promised to create jobs mainly in the small-scale sector. But the industrialisation and jobs that Bengal needs can only come through big-time investment in manufacturing.
District industry centres have always been there but they are not the answer to Bengals lack of industries and jobs. The big change that Bengal needs can only come through a rapid change from an agricultural to an industrial economy.
But that requires a radical departure from populist politics. Her first 100 days show no hint of this radical change, just as she showed no interest in ushering in an aggressive policy to restructure the states finances.
No tax rise may be good politics, but its proved to be disastrous economics, as Mamata might realise when loans from the Asian Development Bank or the funds for the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission projects stop coming.
The first 100 days, it seems, is too short a time for a streetfighter to morph into a hard-nosed administrator. Some of her decisions — like the one on renaming the state or declaring a holiday on Tagores death anniversary — sent out negative signals. But there is no way one can miss the shake-up that she has given a slumbering Bengal.