Modi lying about Bengal, stifling voice of democracy, says Mamata
Illambazar (Birbhum): Brushing aside Prime Minister Narendra Modi's allegations that there is no democracy in Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said he is not speaking the truth and BJP is stifling the voice of democracy and creating trouble everywhere.
Modi had alleged that democratic movements have been curbed in Bengal in an interview to a private television channel on January 1.
She was addressing a gathering in connection with public distribution here on Thursday afternoon. "He is not speaking the truth. BJP is choking the voice of democracy and any one criticising them is being pulled up. BJP is creating trouble everywhere."
Banerjee said: "The people in Bengal are living peacefully and their democratic rights have not been curtailed. On the contrary, BJP is demolishing the institutions and creating trouble everywhere."
She said the people in Bengal have been practicing Hinduism since birth. "We have heard about the Vedas from our birth and from our early childhood learnt to respect the religion of others. The Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs have lived peacefully for several generations in Bengal. But now some people wielding lathis and wearing headbands are teaching us which religion we will have to follow. We believe in the philosophy of live and let live," the Chief Minister added.
Lauding folk artistes, Banerjee said they are proud of Bengal. "Baul music has been appreciated by people in foreign countries and they are proud of Bengal," she said, adding that there was a time when people did not respect the folk artistes and their financial condition turned from bad to worse.
The state government is now giving a stipend of Rs 1,000 to 2 lakh folk artistes and all the departments have been instructed to invite them for programmes.
"Joydeb Mela in Kenduli is attracting people from all over the world and more and more people are listening to Baul music now. Baul singers are natural artistes. Without any formal training they sing perfectly and their renditions touch our hearts," she said.
Banerjee said major development has taken place in Birbhum district in the past seven years. Vast areas surrounding Tarapith Temple have been given a new look and more bridges are coming up which will improve communication.
She said despite loan repayment worth Rs 48,000 crore, the state government has prepared schemes for all sections of people. More than 8 crore people are being given rice at Rs 2 per kilogram and the state government is giving a huge subsidy for the project.
Kanyashree has helped girls carry on with their studies up to the post-graduate level. "We have made plans for everyone and we are proud of our youths who are the future of our country," Banerjee said.