Science Congress not right place to seek package, Mamata told

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 03, 2013 17:10 hrs

Kolkata, Jan 3 (IANS) The Congress criticised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for raising her demand for a special financial package for the state at the Indian Science Congress' centenary session Thursday, saying it was not the appropriate platform.

"There were Nobel laureates. The President (Pranab Mukherjee) was also present on the occasion. Discussions between the centre and state can take place at several platforms like the National Development Council (NDC). But she (Banerjee) did not attend the NDC meet recently. She could have gone there," said Congress leader Manas Bhunia.

As her repeated demand for a financial bailout package did not yield any result till now, Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chief, chose the Science Congress event, attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to raise her voice further.

Banerjee skipped the crucial NDC meet last month and deputed Finance Minister Amit Mitra to attend, accusing the central government of an "unholy nexus" with the erstwhile Left Front government in Bengal, leaving the state in a "disastrous" financial situation with a debt burden of more than Rs.2 lakh crore.

Bhunia said instead of raising her voice at different "inappropriate platforms", the chief minister should hold talks with the prime minister on the bailout package.

"When the prime minister himself announced in Kolkata that the central goverment would not deprive the state, we believe that the chief minister should hold talks with him without raising her voice against the centre anywhere and everywhere. For the development of Bengal, Banerjee should talk to the prime minister, the union finance minister and the Planning Commission," he added.

Seconding Bhunia, union Minister of State for Urban Development Deepa Dasmunshi said the science event was not the right occasion to raise such issues and the union government was not at all depriving the state.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday pledged to "fully support" the Trinamool Congress government in the state on all fronts.

"The prime minister assured us that the centre would fully support the state government on all fronts," state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya said after meeting Singh ahead of the Science Congress.

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