“We Are Confident Of A Big Victory” —Mamata Banerjee
The daughter of a teacher, Mamata Banerjee joined the student wing of the Indian National Congress Party while attending a women’s college in Kolkata. In 1997, she came out of the Congress Party in West Bengal and established the All India Trinamool Congress. Being a fire-brand leader of the masses and the crucial opponent of the Left Front in West Bengal, she believes in living a simple life and wear slippers. Popularly known as Didi, she gained enough popularity and trust of people in West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee spoke to Special Correspondent S Roy in Kolkata about her future plans for West Bengal.
Inclusive growth is today a buzzword all over the country. If you come to power, how would you implement inclusive growth for West Bengal?
Swami Vivekananda said that words are secondary. It is the thought that lives, and travels far. Our thoughts are always with “Ma, Mati, Manush” (Mother, Motherland and Mankind). The government policies will come from this. We will work towards growth for all, at the cost of none. Every single citizen of the state will feel the improvement in his or her life.
You have told in your election agenda that the Darjeeling problem will be solved in 200 days. Is it really possible and how?
Yes, the problem can and will be resolved. It will require a lot of patience. There will be talks. We will put in our best efforts towards this. We will bring peace to Bengal.
Out of 228 seats, how many seats are you expecting to win?
We are confident of a big victory. The people are ready for change. We are sure that they will vote to make the change happen. Swami Vivekananda said: “Strength is my life, weakness is my death”. The people of Bengal are our strength.
What would be your first priority for the state?
My first priority would be to restore the pride of Bengal, to make everyone believe in the state again. The CPI (M) has ruined the state for too long. Government employees’ salaries are being paid with funds meant for infrastructure and development. The state debt has gone to close to Rs 2 lakh crore. Education is suffering. The task is difficult. The road ahead is not going to be smooth. But we will get there and we urge the people of Bengal to support us in this mission.
Everybody is talking about change. How can you define change?
Any positive improvement is change. In West Bengal, we have seen that the government cannot do anything positive. They just spread terror. The CPI (M) has ruined the culture of the state. So, the change has to be much wider. We will work towards restoring Bengal to its old glory. We will set up a Work Culture Mission to improve the work environment in the state. More such change is required, and we will do it.
You have stated that you would lead the government if you come to power. Then what would happen to railway and its various projects?
The railway ministry will remain with us. This will help in ensuring that all the projects are completed on time.