Agartala: Aiming to expand the base of Trinamool Congress outside West Bengal, party chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday held a major rally at Agartala in Tripura where she the rally was attended by dissident Congress MLAs.
Mamata Banerjee said that, “Today is the historic 9th August. Let our slogan today be to bring an end to the CPI(M) Government. I am very much familiar about Tripura. I have travelled from the Hills to the plains. In Bengal, we have the government of Maa, Mati, Manush. Let there be a Maa, Mati, Manush government in Tripura also.”
Mamata Banerjee said, “Trinamool is the party of the people, we work for the people. Before the elections in Bengal, a slander campaign was launched by some leaders. As Railway Minister, I started the project of railway link to Tripura in 2010. Do not fear. We can win here and we will celebrate our victory in this very Astabal Ground.”
Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the Left front government and said, “CPI(M) does not understand anything but torture. Congress is in cahoots with them. In Bengal, there has been a campaign of slander. But we have given 40 lakh cycles under Sabuj Sathi. We get only 10% central funds whereas Tripura gets 90% central funds. We have been giving rice at Rs 2 since we came to power. People of Jangalmahal get these advantages.”
Mamata Banerjee added, “We have done a lot of things for the tribal people. They gave me their highest award. What have the comrades done for Tripura? Is there any good hospital here? People go to Delhi or Assam for treatment. We have set up 41 multispeciality hospitals in Bengal. There is only loot and plunder here. FIRs are rejected. Police is controlled by CPI(M).”
Mamata Banerjee promised development in Tripura. She said, “We will take up massive development in Tripura. We have started Kanyashree scholarships for girls. We have instituted Sikshashree scheme for tribal students. From Yuvashree to Lok Prasar Prakalpa, we will launch all successful Bengal initiatives in Tripura. Do the people of Tripura get free healthcare at government hospitals? We have done it in Bengal.”
Mamata Banerjee said, “In Bengal we have started Fair Price Medicine shops, free heart operation for children. We can do the same for you. 15000 children have got cardiac surgery free of cost in Bengal. We will do the same for Tripura. We came out of Congress the day they sold their ideology to the CPI(M). We were able to establish Trinamool because we walked out of the Congress.”
Mamata Banerjee also criticized the BJP government by saying, “BJP Government does not do any work. They will blow their own trumpets during elections. BJP only interferes in the business of the State. They are not following the federal structure.
Mamata Banerjee also spoke about the violence in Bengal. “We have witnessed violence in Netai, Nandigram and Singur. We have witnessed violence in Udaypur in Tripura. We have witnessed a lot of violence. We cannot be scared by fear tactics. CPI(M) was responsible for the birth of chit funds. We will achieve victory. Trinamool will emerge victorious. It is our responsibility to work for the people. Potatoes cost Rs 35-40 in Tripura. We have set up fair price shops selling potatoes at Rs 14.”
The chief minister also said, “Comrades, you can always call me names, work for the people before you criticize me. With the help of other parties we helped in the safe passage of the GST Bill. We have the same rules for all. We wish to build a more disciplined party. Trinamool fulfills the promises it makes. Trinamool means development, progress and moving ahead.”
Mamata Banerjee said, “Trinamool means youth, farmers and workers and good administration. Rabindranath Tagore wrote Bisarjan. Let today’s meeting be the call for CPM’s Bisarjan. Trinamool doesn’t want to just come to power in Tripura, we want to work for the people. BJP wants to scare us but we will keep marching forward fearlessly. Bengal is always beside Tripura. We will always be with you on the path of development.”
Mamata Banerjee said, “After 34 years of misrule there is a surge of development in Bengal. We want the same for Tripura. Trinamool cannot be stopped by taking cable TV channels off air. Time has come for CPM to leave Tripura. Time has come for ‘poriborton’. If we have one bread, we will share half with you. But we will not let CPM ruin this State.”
The Trinamool Congress has already carved a place for itself in the Marxist bastion emerging as the principal opposition party after six dissident Congress MLAs had joined it last June. Sudip Ray Barman, who led the Congress dissidents in the sensitive Northeastern state, said, “Mamata Banerjee’s rally at the Swami Vivekananda Maidan in Agartala tomorrow will be the first nail in the coffin of the corrupt and inefficient Left Front government of Tripura.”
Barman said that Banerjee would give the Tripura unit ‘direction’ to emerge victorious in the next Assembly poll due in 2018. “All MLAs and other leaders who have joined the TMC from other parties, including the Congress, will be present in the rally. It will be a historic rally,” he said. Barman said the people of Tripura had become fed up with the Left Front regime and disapproved of the tie-up between the Congress and the Left Front in West Bengal. “With this, the tacit understanding between the Left Front and the Congress came out in the open. Why then will people vote for the Congress as an alternative to the Left Front in Tripura?” he wondered.
If the Left is to be ousted from Tripura, Trinamool Congress is the best option because it is the only “anti-dote for the Left”, Barman said. After her landslide victory in West Bengal, Banerjee and her trusted lieutenant Mukul Roy have been working to expand her party’s influence in the Northeast with Tripura being the prime target. The Bengali population there forms the largest ethno-linguistic group in the state with nearly about 70 per cent of the population.
According to TMC sources in Kolkata, Tripura and the Northeast hold a key to TMC’s pan-India political ambition with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha poll where TMC wants to play a vital role. “We are already the main opposition party in Tripura and if we manage to win Tripura it will be an added advantage in 2019. The Northeastern states have mostly remained untapped politically for us,” a senior TMC leader said.