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Buddha hits out at club cash

Bhattacharjee at the Bakrahat rally. Picture by Bibhash Lodh

Bakrahat, Jan. 22: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today criticised the Mamata Banerjee government’s move to give grants to clubs “at the taxpayers’ expense” and said the chief minister was running the state like a club.

“In the 20 months, this government has brought the state to a standstill. There hasn’t been any progress on industry, agriculture and employment generation. Only festivals are being organised. Clubs are being given money at the taxpayers’ expense,” the former chief minister said at a CPM rally in Bakrahat in South 24-Parganas.

He added: “It seems she is not running a government, but a club. I am not undermining any club or organisation. But the two cannot be run the same way.”

Bhattacharjee said the Planning Commission had taken “serious” note of how the chief minister was using plan funds for non-plan purposes. “I am told the Planning Commission has taken serious note of this. They may issue strictures to the state administration,” he said.

Plan funds are used for the construction of assets such as roads, schools and hospitals. They are not meant to be diverted for non-plan expenditures like payment of salaries or extending grants.

The former chief minister said the time has come for a paribortaner paribortan (change of the change that took place in 2011).

“They (Trinamul) did not allow Singur to happen. No work is going on in the Salboni steel plant. They prevented the Rs 1 lakh crore petrochemicals complex in the Nayachar island. See the condition of Bengal. It’s tottering. No investor will come here and no jobs would be created. Gloomy days are ahead,’’ he warned.

“It’s time for a paribortaner paribortan. The panchayat elections are coming. Pull up your socks, leave no stone unturned,” he said.

The CPM leader also expressed concern over the “worsening’’ law and order. “Police are not acting on genuine complaints. But, what will the police do? They are being run by Trinamul leaders,’’ he said.

Bhattacharjee also ridiculed the spate of media advertisements the government has been giving out to list its achievements.

“When we were in the government, did you ever see my picture in the media with my hands raised? Never did I do that with people’s money. The Trinamul government has brought this culture here.’’