In her second leg of campaigning for West Bengal polls, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi alleged on Wednesday that the state government has misused Central funds meant for development of Maoist-dominated areas.
"We have provided thousands and lakhs of rupees to the government of West Bengal so that they could bring more development projects in Naxal-affected areas. But they have done nothing. Where is that money? We are asking them, where they have used those huge funds?" said Sonia Gandhi at Nalhati, about 330 km to the north of Kolkata.
"In several parts of our country the Naxalite movement is our biggest internal problem. To fight this problem we have sent paramilitary forces and, simultaneously, sanctioned crores of rupees for the development of the Naxalite-affected areas," said Gandhi in her speech in support of Abhijit Mukherjee, Congress candidate and son of Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
The spot where the UPA chairperson raised the Maoist question was barely 30 km from the Jharkhand border. Intelligence sources claim this area is often used by ‘suspected outsiders’ as their gateway.
A couple of hours later at Shantipur in Nadia district, Gandhi said, "As our prime Minister has said, naxals are the country’s biggest internal security threat. The Centre is giving full support to the states to combat the problem. But there are a lot of grievances among the people living there. Developing these areas is the only way to solve the problem."
The Congress president’s comment came at a time when CPI(M) has been alleging links between Maoists and Trinamool Congress’s for the past year.
In her 10 minute speech in Nalhati, Gandhi criticized CPI(M)-led left front government for presiding over an all round decline of the state during the past 34 years.
"Bengal used to be a land for proud for outstanding contribution to freedom fight, arts and literature, science. Whenever the country needed, Bengal showed the path. But the Left Front government has ruined this holy land, there is nothing to be proud of anymore," she said.
Gandhi hoped that the Congress-Trinamool Congress combine led by Mamata Banerjee would throw the Left to the Bay of Bengal after this assembly election.
She remarked that the Left has failed the state, describing the government as a "total failure", words that are frequently used by Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee.
"Millions of youths are unemployed and industry workers are also poor. The government also does not bother about the condition of poor farmers of the state," Gandhi alleged.
She alleged that the government has misused funds meant for the development of the state in the strident tone that she used on April 15 campaign.