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Poll leaflets for CM’s eyes

Calcutta, Dec. 31: Before the Lok Sabha election bugle is sounded, some Trinamul MPs have started blowing their trumpets on what they have done in the past five years.

Two Lok Sabha MPs, Tapas Pal and Sisir Adhikari, have distributed in their constituencies leaflets listing their work. Several others are working on the details of the projects initiated by them in their constituencies.

“I only want people to know what all I have done for them and what I can achieve. This is not just a campaign. I want to inform the people about the work done by me,” said Pal, a first-time MP from Nadia’s Krishnagar.

Pal’s leaflet reads: “Now that my tenure as an MP is coming to an end, I am analysing and listing for myself, for the people and for my leader, Mamata Banerjee, what I have done for the betterment of my constituency. People will judge whether I made any mistakes.”

Most MPs who have started their campaign or are in the process of doing so spoke on similar lines.

But party sources said the “main motive” behind the move was to “catch the attention” of Mamata, who will decide on the candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, by publicising their performance at a time there is a buzz that some sitting MPs might be dropped because of non-performance.

The chief minister’s stress on performance was recently reflected in the move to take away the key industries and public enterprise reconstruction departments from Partha Chatterjee. Although Mamata had said she had taken some of the load off Chatterjee so that he could concentrate more on party work, insiders had pointed at perceived non-performance.

“It is clear that such campaigns are being planned to send the message that the MPs take their job seriously. When Mamata takes the final decision (on candidates for next year’s elections), she will definitely consider their performance,” a Trinamul MP said.

Pal’s leaflet was distributed during the chief minister’s visit to Krishnagar on December 17. The actor-turned-MP has talked about providing funds from the MPLAD scheme for the beautification of Krishnagar town, improvement of the drainage system, installation of lights, repair of roads and upgrade of health services.

Adhikari, who was the junior rural development minister at the Centre till Trinamul pulled out of UPA II, has also released several leaflets to keep his voters updated. “This is a continuous process for me,” he said.

After becoming chief minister, Mamata had started the process of monitoring projects implemented with MPLAD funds, holding review meetings with Trinamul MPs from both Houses. Mamata has instructed the MPs to complete all projects before the Lok Sabha polls are announced.

Birbhum MP Satabdi Roy said she was busy giving the final touches to the list of projects she had steered in her constituency. “I hope to complete the list by next week,” she said.

A political scientist said the trend of listing achievements through leaflets that Trinamul has started in Bengal was a welcome departure from the past.

“This means there is competition over performance and it gives the impression that individual MPs are trying to let their leader know that his or her showing is better than the others. This is a healthy sign,” said the political scientist who did not wish to be named.

Trinamul’s all-India general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy said it was not unusual for the MPs to inform people about their achievements, but he also sounded a word of caution. “It is the party that contests elections, not individuals,” he said.