Coming down heavily on the BJP, on a day when the RSS and its right wing affiliates held Ram Navami celebrations across West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday slammed the party for "appropriating festivals" and accused it of insulting the 'Om' symbol by using it in political rallies.
The BJP took out Ram Navami processions in different parts in the state. There was a huge procession in Islampur in South Dinajpur. Rallies were also taken out in Siliguri. The Trinamool Congress also took out a procession but there were no banners and festoons. It may be mentioned that 42 top-rung BJP leaders from Rajnath Singh to Smriti Irani are coming to the state to hold meetings with party workers and leaders in the districts.
"Do not hold Ram Navami programme claiming the festival to be your exclusive thing. Do not try to incite unrest. For thousands of years, various religious organisations have been carrying on Ram Navami rallies," she said at a public rally in Bankura.A party is planting flags and placing 'Om' symbols. You can sit at home and chant 'Om'. How can they (BJP) use religious symbols in political rally?
"In UP, they (BJP) talk of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' and in Bengal they play divisive politics.. they want to divide the Hindus-Muslims... the Sikhs-Christians.
"One day if the Banerjees say that they have no relation with Chatterjees... if the tribals will say we will not live with Hindus... so on and so forth.... what will happen? Everything will shatter to pieces. The country will not remain united," she said, adding Basanti Puja was always celebrated in Bengal. "Haven't we done Basanti puja? Is it something new? You should check. Basanti puja is the predecessor of present day Durga puja," she added. Basanti Durga Puja is the celebration of Durga Puja during the spring time. It is a huge celebration in the eastern parts of India and especially in West Bengal. Basanti Durga puja coincides with the Vasant or Chaitra Navratri celebrations.
Banerjee reiterated that waiving of land tax would benefit farmers who had been badly hit by demonetization. " We have given Rs 50,000 to those who have lost their jobs due to demonetization to start small businesses and become self-reliant."
Banerjee said as Railway Minister she had proposed a railway line connecting Bishnupur with Tarakeshwar via Jairambati and Kamarpukur. " There are some people who have raised an objection and stated that water bodies where they practice pisciculture would be affected. Please come to me and I will try to resolve the impasse. But do not bring political leaders and if you try to oppose a genuine issue, rest assured I will complete it."
Coming down heavily on CPIM, Banerjee said over the last 34 years the party did not do anything and now they were trying to stall projects by launching movements. " There was an acute scarcity of drinking water in Bankura and when an underground pipeline is being laid, some people backed by CPIM are damaging the pipes and putting up road blocks. I urge CPIM to give up this nasty politics."
Banerjee said a water supply project worth Rs 1090 crore has been taken up for Bankura and already 65% people are getting filtered water. Another scheme worth Rs 880 crore has been taken up to provide drinking water in eight blocks. The project will start in August. She said there were some pockets in Bankura town where there was a scarcity of drinking water and 275 tanks would be set up by the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department to meet the emergency situation. The state government would construct dams worth Rs 500 crore to provide irrigated water. Another World Bank assisted project worth Rs 3000 crore has been undertaken to provide irrigated water in lower Damodar basin.
10,000 Bankura residents on Wednesday received benefits under various schemes including Kanyashree, Yubasathi etc. "The state government is trying its best to assist students and if they can utilise them properly, then Bengal will be again number 1 in the world," the CM said.
She said the state government would provide every assistance and help people set up poultry farms. "We produce 80 lakh eggs and another 80 lakh are procured from other states. If we can augment our egg production, then soon we will not depend on neighbouring states."