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PC blasts Left, roots for change

With just two days before the third phase of assembly elections to be held in Kolkata and the South and North 24-Parganas, Union home minister P Chidambaram on Monday blasted the ruling Left Front government of Bengal. "West Bengal is the worst governed state in the country," he said. Saptarshi Banerjee and Koushik Dutta report.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2011 13:41 IST

With just two days before the third phase of assembly elections to be held in Kolkata and the South and North 24-Parganas, Union home minister P Chidambaram on Monday blasted the ruling Left Front government of Bengal. "West Bengal is the worst governed state in the country," he said.

He was in Kolkata campaigning for Trinamool and Congress alliance candidates. He also congratulated the people of West Bengal in advance for choosing a new government in the state. Chidambaram also held the Left Front government responsible for the poor financial health of the state.

Terming the law and order situation in the state as 'precarious', the Union home minister said that once he had also stated that the state had been turned into a 'killing-field'. Urging people of the state to join the path of development, prosperity and progress, Chidambaram said that governance here has been completely neglected.

He also said that the Centre's immediate concern is law and order as the situation is precarious and that he had also brought the situation to the notice of the chief minister. "I recall having exchanged letters with him," he said.

He also said the chief minister had denied but the 'bubble burst' when the Netai killings took place. He also blamed the CPI(M) armed cadres for spreading violence. He said, "I sincerely hope that after May, the new government and the central government would work together. I promise that we would work to restore law and order and stop killings."

Chidambaram said that Trinamool Congress and Congress have always been at the receiving end and in 2010, total number of people killed were 204, out of which 99 were from Trinamool, 16 from Congress and 21 from other parties.

Speaking about the financial health of the state, Chidambaram said West Bengal government took as many as seven overdrafts in 2010-11. "In 2011-12 Bengal has already taken an overdraft. The cash position is precarious. As on April 6, the overdraft is R1,323 crore. It is a debt-stressed state," he said.

The Union home minister also said, "The tax GDP ratio is the lowest in general category states, and that it has crossed the borrowing limit of Rs 17,828 crore and still continues to borrow. The state had also borrowed Rs 3,173 through open market borrowings." He also described the revenue deficit as 'worrisome'.

Chidambaram also lambasted the government for failure in improving the condition of Muslims. According to him, although the state government is making tall claims, statistics speak something else. "Although Muslims contribute for 25% of the total population, only 2% have got jobs. Out of the 511 recruitments in police, only two were Muslims. Out of the 605 recruitments in fire brigade, only 9 were Muslims," he said.