Will never leave Bengal: Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Saturday she will always remain in Bengal even as she vowed to take the Trinamool Congress to the national arena.
"Do not worry, I will never leave Bengal, it is my motherland and I will work for Bengal till my last breath," said Banerjee while addressing party workers and its youth brigade in Burdwan district's Durgapur city.
Kickstarting the party's Lok Sabha campaign at a rally Jan 30, Banerjee had called for a change in power in Delhi and claimed that Trinamool was the only alternative to the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left parties at national level.
Writer Mahasweta Devi and some other eminent people close to Trinamool have publicly expressed their desire to see her as the prime minister, while social activist Anna Hazare also praised her simple living and indicated he would back her.
The opposition has ridiculed Banerjee for her "prime ministerial ambitions" and alleged she was neglecting her duties as the chief minister.
Reiterating that the fight was against the "joint forces" of the Congress, the BJP and the Communist Party of India-Marxist, Banerjee said she has taken up the challenge of taking Trinamool to the national arena.
"Remember our fight is against the Congress, BJP and the CPI-M and their unholy nexus. We need to regain Bengal's glory and for that we need to be strong in Delhi. I have taken it as a challenge to make Trinamool an all-India party," Banerjee said.
She also said her party will contest Lok Sabha seats in a number of states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Tripura.
Banerjee is scheduled to address a public rally in Agartala Feb 25.
She said her party needed to win a large number of seats from Bengal, so that its voice was heard in Delhi.
"But then we need to strategise, because unlike Congress and the BJP, we don't have money power. We cannot afford to splurge crores of rupees for image makeovers, like others are doing," said Banerjee asking party workers to toil hard to get closer to the masses.
She also attacked the erstwhile Left Front government in Bengal for leaving the state debt burdened as well the Congress-led central government of denying funds and instead taking away most of the state's revenue.
Attacking the Left over the chit fund scam, Banerjee accused them of nurturing the ponzi operators and reiterated that her government was committed towards compensating the poor investors.
"We have already compensated two lakh people and within a few days we will be compensating four lakh more poor investors who were ruined by the chit funds," she said.
She told Trinamool workers to abide by the designated leadership at each level of the party, and warned them against complacency and indiscipline.
(Posted on 15-02-2014)