Millennium Post

UPA tries to win back Mamata Banerjee

Following the withdrawal of support by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and threat from the Samajwadi Party, the UPA has decided to hold out an olive branch to former ally Trinamool Congress (TMC). After West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee promised to stand with the government on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, the ministry of rural development has decided to release Rs 270 crore to the West Bengal government under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

Apart from allocation under MGNREGA, the ministry is also mulling over the proposal for roads to be built in the three Naxal-affected districts in the state. Under the proposal, a total of 2,169 kilometres of roads needs to be built under Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana(PMGSY) in Bankura, Medinipur West and Purulia districts.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh will be meeting the concerned state officers to discuss the project where it is expected that a go-ahead will be given. The minister will be meeting the officers on 4 April in Darjeeling and he is also expected to meet Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata.

The change in stance of rural development minister has surprised many, as Ramesh had been very caustic with his comments when Mamata had called the UPA government ‘brain dead’ last year. Ramesh in his reply to the West Bengal chief minister had said that the ‘brain dead government in Delhi’ was sensitive to the needs of people of the state, which led Banerjee to say that ‘vindictive, unethical and unconstitutional’ language was used in an official letter addressed to her. Ramesh had criticised the state government for failing to spend central funds for local development.
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