Calcutta, Oct. 26: Mamata Banerjee today joined the anti-liquor lobby and threatened to launch an agitation against the Left Front government’s decision to issue liquor shop licences “indiscriminately” to enhance revenue for the cash-starved state.
Coming down strongly on the Left for taking “a decision which will harm the young generation”, the Trinamul Congress leader described it as a “crime against society”.
“This financially bankrupt government cannot show any ray of hope to the young generation and is trying to mislead it. I shiver when I find young people queuing up in front of liquor shops and intend to start a protest against the government’s move,” she said.
Mamata described chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s decision to reduce the number of cars in his security convoy as a “publicity stunt and an attempt to divert people’s attention from the real financial crisis”.
“He has failed to prevent the misuse of official cars by his ministers and bureaucrats. The state exchequer will not be richer if a couple of cars are dropped from the chief minister’s convoy,” she observed.
The Trinamul supremo felt the state government’s much-publicised austerity drive was nothing but a hoax. “The government has enhanced medical education fees and hospital charges to augment income, but failed to prevent misappropriation of funds at every level of administration. The CPM is also spending government money to organise its political conferences,” she said.
Describing Asim Dasgupta as a “worthless finance minister,” Mamata said he was spreading misinformation about other state governments’ stand regarding payment of bonus and dearness allowance to their respective employees.
Mamata also claimed she knew how to give effect to austerity measures. “As the railway minister I strictly adhered to austerity steps and succeeded in saving about Rs 800 crores in just one year. One must be sincere and have the political will to ensure the success of an austerity drive,” she asserted.
The Trinamul chairperson attributed the recent spate of clashes among the Left Front partners to the CPM’s “autocratic attitude which has made a mockery of democracy in Bengal.”
“The Marxists are attacking and killing not only our party workers but also Forward Bloc and RSP supporters to establish their political hegemony in different areas. The CPM wants to get rid every kind of opposition within and outside the Left Front. There are many villages where there is virtually no presence of any political party other than the CPM,” she said.
Mamata asserted that Bhattacharjee can not evade the responsibility for “the deteriorating law and order situation in Bengal.” “He has been the home minister for more than a decade. If he can not ensure an improvement in the situation, he should give up the home portfolio and appoint a new home minister,” she said.