15 March, Kurseong
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee Tuesday threw down the gauntlet at the Congress-CPI(M)-BJP combine, challenging them to fight her politically and not indulge in smear campaigns.
Addressing a campaign rally at Kurseong in North Bengal, Ms Banerjee said, “Let the Opposition hatch as many conspiracies as they want. We are not afraid. We work for the people honestly. We are ready to give a fitting reply to Opposition politically. People will bowl them out in elections.”
“I want the development of the hills from the core of my heart. We are supporting Harka Bahadur Chhetri for the Kalimpong seat. TMC has not fielded any candidate there, she said.
“Did any party ever field a person from the Hills as a candidate in the plains? We fielded Baichung in Siliguri.. In the last four years I came to the Hills multiple times. Has anyone visited the Hills in the past?” The Trinamool supremo questioned.
Ms Banerjee said, ” People have to stand up against fear tactics adopted by some parties. I challenge the Opposition parties to compete with me on the development plank; compete with me in working for the people.
“I want to see a united Darjeeling. I will never seek votes on the plank of divisiveness. Some people do not want me to come to the Hills. Who are they to stop me? This is my motherland. In the past CPI(M) used to say they will not allow division of Bengal. Now they are supporting Bimal Gurung,” she said.
Ms Banerjee said, “Whenever there were natural calamities in the Hills, I was the first to visit.I know the alleys and lanes of the Hills better than the local leaders. I love my brothers and sisters from the Hills. I have a connection of the heart with you. I do not say one thing in the Hills and something else in the plains. I love all equally. I want to carry the development of Hills forward. It is easy to destroy but very difficult to create new things and pursue progress.”
“We formed the GTA, allocated crores of rupees for development and formed several development boards for different communities. We do not support politics over development. We do not believe in fear tactics. We want to work for people.. We want the youth to have better prospects in future.” The Trinamool supremo said.
The Chief Minister said, “If the Hills remain peaceful, tourists will come, there will be business and economy will prosper. We want new tourist spots to come up in the Hills. We want more and more people to come to Darjeeling. We do not want Bandhs in the Hills. People wanted Kalimpong to be declared as a new district. We fulfilled that demand.”
“We are here to work for people and will continue to do so. Those who have been elected by people in the Hills earlier must do their work,” she added.