Cong will be part of ministry: Mamata

KOLKATA, may 15 (PTI): Mamata Banerjee was today formally elected Trinamool Congress Legislature Party leader and said pre-poll ally Congress would be part of her “small” ministry. Two days after her party stormed to power with three- fourths majority, ending 34 years of Left Front rule in West Bengal, the name of 56-year-old Banerjee as TCLP leader was proposed by Subrata Bakshi. The formality of her election was completed at Maharashtra Niwas hall in south Kolkata where all the 184 newly-elected Trinamool Congress MLAs were present.
Addressing the meeting, Banerjee said she was happy that the Congress had submitted a letter of support to a Trinamool Congress-led ministry to Governor M K Narayanan. “We will also submit a letter to the Governor (with the list of supporters),” she said. She said that her ministry would be small in size and Congress and SUCI would take part in it. SUCI, which won one seat, has been requested to join the ministry, she said. “SUCI has said it will let us know,” she said. Partha Chatterjee was elected deputy leader and Sobhandev Chattopadhyay Chief Whip. Jyotipriya Mullick was elected Treasurer. Railway Minister Banerjee, who is a member of Lok Sabha from a Kolkata constituency, will have to get herself elected to the state Assembly within six months. She is likely to contest from a constituency in south Kolkata, TC sources said.
“People have voted us to power to end Left Front misrule of 34 years and it is our foremost responsibility to respect the verdict, honour the mandate and keep our promises,” Banerjee said, dedicating the success of the Trinamool Congress to the victory of ‘Ma, Mati and Manush (Mother, Land and People).’ “This massive electoral success, the second victory of independence has been possible because of those who love us, support us and assist us,” she said, adding that the party’s victory rally would be held at Brigade Parade Ground on July 27. Stating that she remembered the martyrs of the party with tears in her eyes, she said, “I am grateful to the struggling people of Singur, Nandigram, Netai, Mongalkot, Chamkaitola ..... who fought to uphold their democratic rights which were trampled by the Front government.
Small martyrs columns should be set up in the state in memory of those who sacrificed their lives at the hands of CPI(M) all these years, Banerjee said. Banerjee said she totally disapproved of violence and revenge and told her MLAs, “Don’t fall into the trap they (CPI-M) may set and I ask you not to encourage unrest. I instruct you to ensure that none is assaulted or beaten up and no party office set on fire. “They (CPI-M) beat us, injured us, killed us, torched our houses, and committed many crimes on our people. But people voted them out and it is the right punishment given to them,” Banerjee said. She said life was more precious than gold or diamond and added, “If the CPI(M) beats us, we will not retaliate.”
With Left’s downfall, Singur laughs the last laugh
SINGUR, may 15 (Agencies): The seeds of destruction were sown here exactly five years ago. That time in the arrogance of its freshly wrested victory, the CPM ignored all red signals and the juggernaut rolled. Land acquisition for the Tata Nano project was completed, as the state government flexed its muscles. Voices of dissent were completely ignored. Sir Oracle never thought that these murmurs, would gradually take the shape of a movement that would ultimately graduate to a revolution to change the 34-year-old order.
Naturally, Singur went berserk with joy as the unbelievable numbers started pouring in. People here believe that they were the first agents of this change and that Didi owes her victory to them. So they danced, wept, distributed sweets, smeared abir, kissed the Trinamool flag or wore it like a bandana, burst the occasional cracker and celebrated. At a distance the huge mass of the deserted Nano factory loomed ghost-like. Fearing a backlash, the state had arranged for a huge deployment of cops infront of every gate of the factory.
In 2006, immediately after the seventh Left Front government came to power, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, announced his government’s new industrialisation policy. The announcement of the Tata project at Singur followed and acquisition of 1000 acres of land started in August. Trouble started when farmers of Gopalnagar, Khasherberi and Beraberi - started resisting the acquisition. They represented 400 acres out of the total acquired land, as “unwilling landlosers”. Forming the Krishi Jomi Bachao Committee, Mamata Banerjee started fighting their case and demanded that Tata returns the 400 acres of land. It’s history that Tata did not agree and started its factory in Gujarat’s Sanand instead.
The Singur movement gained momentum after the Nandigram violence on March 14, 2007, when a 4000 strong police contingent opened fire on villagers protesting the state’s SEZ plans by acquiring 10,000 acres. This left 14 villagers dead; the CPM in its arrogance took time to realise that the patience of the common man had worn thin and the rhetoric was one of change. One of the many high points in the Singur movement was the rape and murder of Tapasi Malik, daughter of Monoranjan, a fisherman at Singur and a prominent member of the land protest movement. The girl was taken to the field, gangraped and then burnt alive, allegedly by CPM goons in connivance with the police, inorder to teach her father a lesson for daring to protest against land acquisition.
Smeared in green abir, Manoranjan wept helplessly. His wife Molina just sat by him, staring blankly. “Justice can never be done, but this victory gives me some comfort. I know Didi will do her best to punish the killers,” Monoranjan said. T A little away, at the Ujjwal Sangha, the club that shooed away Tata officials when they came to check the acquired, joyous screams filled the air.
A large number of unwilling landlosers whose land come within the “disputed” 400 acres, have still not accepted cheques that are due to them from the state. They thus continue their movement. They however wish that the Tata factory happens in Singur, but after the “fertile” 400 acres are returned. Keeping this in mind they roll out a formula for Didi. “After becoming the chief minister, she should visit Singur and arrange for the return of these 400 acres and also ensure to bring back Tata. It’s a tough job, but we are sure that she will do it,” said Sushanto Bagui. Didi has a touch challenge ahead. Singur will now wait and watch, just as the rest of the state will.