After a year of demanding a financial bailout package for debt-ridden West Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has openly expressed doubt whether the Centre would oblige her at all.
She has penned her anguish in an article in party organ Jago Bangla, written to commemorate one year of her government. The article revolves around the Center’s apathy — a tell-tale sign that her bonhomie with Congress is on its last leg.
“It is our misfortune that we have not got justice even after repeated discussions with the Central government at the highest level,” she wrote. “We have no clear idea of whether we would get it, or what would we get, if we get anything at all.”
Banerjee’s principal demand is a moratorium on interests for state debt, which amounts to more than R2 lakh crore. But meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee are yet to yield results.
In her article, the chief minister accused the Centre of allowing the Left Front to pursue a faulty economic policy and insisted that she would not bear the burden of the loans.
“Why should I bear the burden of others’ (the Left Front) sins? They were deliberately allowed for years to create a debt trap,” she wrote. “Why didn’t West Bengal enact the fiscal responsibility Bill as other states had done? The central government cannot, in any way, deny its responsibility is creating such a situation.” “Our leader’s anguish is natural,” said Sultan Ahmed, Trinamool core committee member and Union minister of state for tourism.
“With little hopes of the Center doing justice, we are trying to get our own resources. Banerjee has initiated many developmental projects which need money,” said Union minister and party core committee member Sishir Adhikary.