Development in West Bengal has suffered, as the cadres of ruling Left Front siphon all the government funds sanctioned either by the Centre or the state. All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Rahul Gandhi thus attacked the ruling Left Front during his speech at Mal Bazar in Jalpaiguri district on Thursday.
"How would the people of Bengal get the benefits of the government projects if the Left Front's cadres misappropriate all the funds? Whatever fund is disbursed for Bengal is distributed among the Left cadres first and then the rest reaches the people," said 42-years old Gandhi.
However, Gandhi, who is overseeing the Congress' youth brigade across the country, avoided the issue of complexities over alliance during his visit to North Bengal on Thursday, a day after both Congress and Trinamool took disciplinary action against leaders who were not abiding by the understanding of the alliance.
Instead, at all the four rallies he addressed on Thursday, Gandhi chose to attack the Left Front government for deflation in Bengal's growth over the past 34 years, while highlighting the pro-poor approach of the UPA government in the Centre.
His remarks reminded many of the famous remark by his father, late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had commented that only 16% of the money allotted for the people reach the actual beneficiaries while the rest gets eaten up in the middle.
"While the UPA is spending crores to uplift the living standards of the poor by help of schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and relieving agricultural loans amounting Rs 70,000 crore, the Left Front in Bengal has failed to utilize funds granted by the centre," alleged the MP and 'Future Face' of the Congress. In his short, 15-minute speech with trademark calmness, at Mal Bazar in Jalpaiguri, Gandhi stressed on UPA's success as a 'pro-poor' government and one that stands tough against corruption.
"We have brought the RTI for better transparency and to expose corruption. Now we are all set to bring another bill (read the Lokpal bill) to check corruption," he said, addressing the gathering of about 10,000 at this remote part of the district, about 60 kilometers from district headquarters, Jalpaiguri.
Gandhi is in Bengal to campaign for the Youth Congress members who have been given party nomination in this Assembly polls. He also addressed gatherings at Matigara-Naxalbari in Darjeeling district, Mothabari in Malda and Domkal in Murshidabad. All these districts are going for polls on April 18.
Despite he and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee touring the same district, the two, however, did not share the dais. Gandhi's mother, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, too, would be visiting the district on Friday, a day after Mamata leaver for Kolkata to spend the Bengali new-year morning with her mother.
Rahul Gandhi, however, minced no word in attacking the Left Front's regime in Bengal, besides expressing hopes that world's longest serving democratically elected communist government would bite the dust in the upcoming Assembly polls.