Student who was branded a 'Maoist' reacts to Mamata's accusation

Last Updated: Sun, May 20, 2012 12:20 hrs

On Sunday, one of the students whose question on the Park Street rape incident triggered an angry response from Mamata Banerjee said the Chief Minister is incapable of handling criticism as Didi's government completed one year in office on Sunday.

At an interactive CNN IBN TV show programme, Mamata lost her cool and walked out of the event midway dubbing the questioners -- mostly students from Presidency and Jadavpur University -- as Maoists and CPI-M cadres.

One of the students -- Taniya Bhardwaj -- whose question on the Park Street rape incident angered Mamata said the CM is putting labels on people arbitrarily instead of facing the criticism.

Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government of West Bengal completed one year in office on Sunday, amid celebrations by the ruling party and sharp criticism of its functioning by the Opposition.

The government, which issued big ads on newspapers titled "One Year Towards a Ray of Hope", claimed success in most departments though Mamata Banerjee admitted that in Singur she has failed to return the land of unwilling farmers owing to court cases with the Tatas.

"We are fighting the case for the past one year. It makes me very dissatisfied that despite acquisition of the land we could not return it because of the court case," she said on Saturday at a function to celebrate the achievements of the government.

Several farmers in Singur interviewed by almost all national and local media houses expressed their anger owing to the limbo.

However, Mamata Banerjee said she would provide Rs 1000/- every month to the farmers whose land is caught in the dispute and rice at a subsidized price of Rs 2 per kilo.

"I express my gratitude and simultaneously congratulate you all on the occasion of one-year completion. I want you to judge the past year and tell me if you felt 'poriborton'. Bengal will again look up and I promise you that I will continue to work towards it. I have dedicated my life for Bengal, every moment is important," Mamata said at the "Pragati Utsav" she launched on Saturday.

The West Bengal government organized a weeklong 'Pragati Utsav' (Festival of Progress) at the Milan Mela complex here to commemorate one-year of "Maa, Mati Manush" (Mother, Earth and People) government in office.

Banerjee's government tried to improve the situation in the academic front and free it from the earlier political influence of the left, though criticism also followed about replacing one set of political people with another besides several instance of campus violence and assault of teachers.

Mamata, who unseated the 34-year-old left rule and created history, also faced flak on the front of civil rights and law and order issue.

The rape of an Anglo-Indian woman in a moving car after she was picked up by a group from a Park Street largely discredited her government after she hastened to say that the case was fabricated though a police inquiry by upright police woman Damayanti Sen proved that the allegation was true.

Later Sen, who was Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, was shunted out.

A new controversy again exploded when a Jadavpur University professor -- Ambikesh Mahpatra -- sent out e-mails with a cartoon of Banerjee, spoofing the characters of Satyajit Ray's film and book "Sonar Kella" and face the assault of Trinamool cadres. He was subsequently arrested though later released.

The cartoon meanwhile went viral on social media.

The arrest of Molecular biologist Partho Sarothi Ray for his alleged role in protesting against the eviction of slum dwellers in Kolkata's Nonadanga area and the decision of the state government to keep out the the largest circulated dailies from the state libraries sparked protests in Bengal too.

However, her bitter tiffs with civil society members apart, Mamata's two apparent big successes in the past one year are peace in Maoist-violence wracked Jangalmahal and in the Gorkha movement roiled Darjeeling Hills.

Referring to two biggest achievements during the past one-year, Hills and Jangalmahal, Mamata said that when she took over as the Chief Minister of the state she was terrified to find out the lawlessness across various districts and regions and realised that the challenges were immense.

She said after completion of one-year she is happy that many of them have been sorted out.

"Bengal is witnessing a new awakening. Today I can tell you that my darling Darjeeling is smiling and my Jangalmahal laughing", said the Chief Minister referring to her two biggest achievements during the past one-year.

In an attempt to pacify the troubles in the hills, Banerjee brokered a tripartite Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Agreement (GTA) that was signed on July last year.

The GTA reportedly provided immense amount of possible autonomy to the troubled hills under the centre and state laws.

However, time will tell how far the problem of hills was solved.

The year was marked by also a very high profile event- the visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who met Mamata Banerjee for nearly an hour.

At the end of the meeting, Banerjee said USA assured to invest in the eastern state.

Reacting to the completion of one year of the state government, Harsh K Jha, President, The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "Despite having inherited a financial catastrophe, Mamata Banerjee has largely been able to address her 3 prominent election agendas by part resolving the Jangalmahal, Singur and Gorkha Hill crises."

"She also deserves high marks for largely avoiding post-poll violence, taking a strict stance against subversive activities like bandhs and bringing Bengal back in the national limelight in the realm of arts and culture," Jha said in a statement.

"Investment proposals have remained largely on paper and critically the perception that it is not safe or easy to do business in the State needs to change, Mrs. Hillary Clinton's visit notwithstanding," Jha said.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Left was scathing in its attack on the Mamata governemnt.

"Only in case of Singur she admitted she failed," said Left Front chairman Biman Bose while his party colleague Surya Kanta Misra was sarcastic.

"She prepared the question paper, she wrote the answers and she gave the marks," said Leader of Opposition Surya Kanta Misra commenting on the claims of Mamata Banerjee.

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