Primary schoolteachers in government-run schools across Bengal have a new mission. They will have to enlighten their students' parents on two "evils" - Maoists and the Trinamool Congress.
The "appeal" came from West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee ahead of the Assembly elections due in the first half of the next year.
Addressing a rally organised by primary schoolteachers owing allegiance to the Left Front in central Kolkata on Wednesday to mark their recent victory in school council elections, Bhattacharjee raised some eyebrows by his unusual appeal.
"Your victory against violence and intimidation proves that you have realised who can take the state forward. Now you have a greater responsibility. I request you to spread the word among parents of millions of your students, explain to them what danger the state faces from Maoists and this Opposition," said Bhattacharjee without naming the Trinamool Congress or its chief, Mamata Banerjee.
Although the CPM and its allies have a strong presence in teachers' associations and unions, the chief minister's appeal in public exposed the anxiety in Left camp in the state.
Bhattacharjee stuck to his party line and accused the Opposition of aiding the CPI(Maoist) and bringing all development projects to a grinding halt.
"They want to stop everything, be it a township or a power plant. They don't want new industries. When millions of your students graduate they will ask for jobs. Will we tell them to go to villages and take up farming? We cannot go ahead without industry".
Appealing to the teachers to reverse the school dropout rate, the chief minister said, "Children from poor families are doing well. They are going to engineering colleges. If this trend stops then everything we have done so far will be finished."