The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata joins full bonus chorus

Calcutta, Sept. 24: Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today launched an indefinite dharna in front of Metro Cinema in the city demanding full bonus for state government employees, schoolteachers, municipal and panchayat staff.

“We are happy that the Centre has decided to release Rs 878 crore for this bankrupt government. We expect it to pay the full bonus to its employees from this amount. If it fails, we will take our stir to a fever-pitch and force it to pay up,” she told a rally here this afternoon.

The Trinamul leader added that she apprehended the CPM-led government would try to divert a chunk of the loan to party funds and utilise it to meet expenses during next year’s panchayat polls. “The government will have to give an account of the expenditure as the people have a right to know what it is planning to do with the funds,” she said.

Describing Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government as “totally bankrupt”, Mamata accused the chief minister of compromising with the state’s interests on the issue of Eastern Railway’s bifurcation after getting the Centre’s assurance to bail him out of the financial crisis.

“It is now obvious that the chief minister and his party kept quiet on the railway bifurcation to secure the Central loan,” she said.

At the rally, the Trinamul leader displayed a government circular stating that panchayat employees must show certificates of performance to get salaries. “It simply means that only CPM supporters can rest assured about getting salaries. Supporters of Opposition parties will be denied pay on some pretext or the other…”

Mamata alleged that a section of policemen was collaborating with the Marxists to “exterminate the Opposition parties”. “A day will come soon when you will stop getting your salaries and allowances. The government has already stopped your ration supplies,” she told the policemen on duty.

Describing the deaths of some Trinamul workers at Keshpur as the “clearest evidence of the CPM’s calculated bid to destroy its political opposition before the panchayat elections,” the Trinamul leader said: “Armed CPM cadre shot them dead with police help. Our party workers, who had been separated from their families at gun-point, wanted to return home following an assurance from the district administration. That was their only crime.”

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