Kolkata : It could well be a case of the mountain coming to Mohammed. Living up to the promises she made before the historic April-May assembly elections, a tireless Didi is travelling the length and breadth of West Bengal, virtually carrying the Writers’ Buildings to the masses.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has even assured that the Secretariat, Writers’ Buildings – the nervecentre of the state administration – will ‘visit’ every district every three months to get reports.
This seems to be part of a proactive Banerjee’s way to portray her administration as people-oriented from top to bottom and improve the work culture among government officials, giving pace to a slew of development projects she had earlier announced.
During her visit to Burdwan district Nov 12, which marked the conclusion of the Trinamool Congress chief’s recent round of visits to the districts, she cautioned that “no one will be spared in case of any dereliction of duty”.
She went there with eight state ministers and three union ministers of her party, besides 18 top-level bureaucrats, and held meetings with local administrators, asking them to work in tandem.
In her own words, “The entire Writers’ Buildings has come here as it is just perfect to get reports of districts from districts.”
People of the district, which has an industrial region like Durgapur-Asansol, hit the streets for a glimpse of ‘Big Sister’, who came to power after dethroning the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government six months back. Only seven months ago, Burdwan was considered a CPI-M stronghold.
Banerjee, flanked by top bureaucrats, also went to Birbhum district where enthusiastic crowds jostled with each other to get a better view of her. Even students were seen clicking many pictures of her at Bolpur.
Before her Burdwan tour, the firebrand leader also visited Purulia, considered a Maoist den. After holding talks with the local administration, Banerjee, in a public rally at Balarampur, Nov 11 called upon the rebels to lay down arms and return to the mainstream and reiterated that her government will provide ‘everything’ to the guerrillas who surrender.
“I am not your enemy, but killers are my enemy. I do not want to use arms against arms. I am against arms. If you lay down arms, we will give you everything you want. When people will not get food, they will snatch guns from you. So the fight is for development. Return to the mainstream of life,” she said.
Banerjee simultaneously announced developmental projects for the backward district. “We want Purulia to become a model. There will be stadiums, medical colleges and also an airport here,” she added.
She also decided to commence a telephone-based redress system called ‘Samadhan’.
The visit of Banerjee, who is on the Maoist hit list, to Purulia can be seen as her desperate attempt to spread the influence of the administration and the Trinamool Congress in the region, where her party cadres are being gunned down by the rebels. Banerjee’s short-term aim is to attract the poverty-stricken people in order to alienate the extremists.
Although state Left Front chairman Biman Bose took a dig at Banerjee’s “car visits” to the districts, saying she perhaps had problems in walking, it seems the chief minister’s tour to the Maoist stronghold is already paying off as a 28-year-old dreaded rebel leader of Bengal’s first all-woman Maoist squad, Jagori Baske, surrendered Nov 17.
Bidding farewell to arms, Baske came to Kolkata with her rebel husband and five-year-old son to surrender at the state Secretariat.
Guess who must be smiling at the Writers’ Buildings!