The state Congress on Wednesday released its manifesto for the upcoming panchayat polls blaming the ruling Trinamool for failing to utilise central funds and passing off central schemes as those initiated by the state government by merely changing their names.
“We would initiate all-round development in the villages. The Centre has granted huge amounts of money for various developmental schemes, but the state has failed to utilise them due to lack of planning. Whether it is the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) or 100 days’ work, the state is lagging behind,” state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said. “The Congress would conduct two annual gram sansad meetings to discuss the budget for developmental activities,” Bhattacharya added and went on to flay the ruling Trinamool for the Saradha scam and deteriorating law and order in the state.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose took the fight against the Trinamool further and accused the ruling party of threatening Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and women candidates, who filed nominations outside the reserved seats. “The Trinamool has already won over 6,000 seats uncontested. Though dates of nomination are over, Trinamool supporters are threatening opposition candidates not to issue leaflets saying they have withdrawn from the fray. If tribal or women candidates are contesting other seats, they are threatened to withdraw nominations. Even SC and OBC candidates are facing similar problems,” Bose said.
The Congress, however, refuted claims that the Centre has decided against sparing forces for the panchayat elections had reported on Wednesday, quoting a senior home department official, that the Centre does not feel the need to send forces for local elections. “The Centre is ready to send forces for panchayat polls. But the state is not following the proper procedure to send a requisition for central forces. If the chief minister has any confusion, she should speak to the home minister,” Bhattacharya said.
Senior Congress leader Manas Bhuniya alleged the state could utilise only Rs. 19 crore out of Rs. 3,500 crore allotted for PMGSY. “Be it central electrification or drinking water schemes, backward region grant funds, kisan credit card schemes, crop insurance, sarva shiksha abhijaan or midday meal schemes, the state is taking credit for all central schemes. We want farmers be given proper base price and proper conservation facilities for their goods,” Bhuniya said.
The Congress also demanded a special package for north Bengal and speedy implementation of schemes in Jangalmahal.