Kolkata, Jun 03: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee on Monday will hold a threadbare discussion with her MLAs as a part of stock-taking exercise after the party's run-of-the-mill performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election.
The meeting to be held at the State Secretariat, Nabanna, is expected to zero on the administrative works in the MLAs' respective areas and also the the party's debacle in the hustings as the BJP went ahead in 121 Assembly segments, while the Congress in nine out of 294.
It has to be noted that in several Trinamool MLAs' segments the saffron brigade secured huge lead and was far ahead even in the Assembly segments of 15 out of 45 ministers in the Chief Minister's Cabinet. There were 58 Assembly segments in which the BJP got slender leads of 5,000 or less votes. In North Bengal the ruling party licked dust in all the six seats in the region and put up a shoddy performance in the rural South Bengal of Jangalmahal.
Ms Banerjee has already conducted two meetings with the senior leadership to assess what went wrong in the general election - one on May 25 and another on May 31 - and this meeting is being viewed as a post-mortem of the actual reasons resulting in the party's lacklustre show even in areas which underwent a plethora of developmental activities.
In her first post-Lok Sabha result meeting at her Kalighat residence on May 25, she offered to step down as the Bengal Chief Minister, saying she couldn't perform her duty because of the constraints of the Model Code Of Conduct, and spewed venom on the Election Commission and the BJP.
Ms Banerjee alleged that the BJP had played the communal card and programmed the EVMs to win the polls, saying," The BJP played the communal card and won... We did not play that card and lost... But winners are winners. The Central forces worked against us. An emergency situation was created. Hindu-Muslim division was done and votes were divided. We complained to the EC but nothing was looked into.
Accusing the BJP of "spending an unprecedented amount of money", she said, ' It's a scam. They used government officials to spread money. They removed police officials at the airport to ensure money come in without hassles. The EC, Media, Judiciary, Forces are all under BJP control. The BJP has used the Election Commission fully, so much so that the latter almost became a part of the BJP. '
In her second party meeting on May 31, Ms Banerjee calling upon the party leaders to embark upon socio-cultural programmes to take on the rising RSS narrative in Bengal, and a string of senior Trinamool Congress leaders was given the responsibility to lead the newly constituted "Jai Hind" brigade.
While Ms Banerjee's nephew and MP from Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha constituency Abhishek Banerjee was given the responsibility to constitute this brigade, party MP from Barasat Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar was given the charge to look after the women brigade 'Banga Jananai Vahini' in the state.
Apart from these leaders, Ms Banerjee's brother Kartik Banerjee, state Ministers Indranil Sen and Bratya Basu were handed the baton to lead the brigades through which she wanted the party leadership to leave an indelible impact on the Bengali society with cultural programmes to counter the RSS influence in the state.
On May 28, Ms Banerjee presided over a Cabinet meeting, following which she announced several changes in the allocation of departments.The portfolios were rearranged in an effort to bring down the cost in the running of the State Government, she said.
While Panchayats and Rural Development, and Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs Departments was allocated to Subrata Mukherjee,Transport, and Irrigation and Waterways Departments to Suvendu Adhikary, Labour and Law Departments to Malay Ghatak, Environment and Public Health Engineering Departments to Somen Mahapatra,Tribal Affairs and Backward Classes Development Departments to Rajib Banerjee, Forest Department to Bratya Basu and Forest Department (Minister of State) to Sujit Bose.
Meanwhile, commenting on the most-hyped 'Jai Sri Ram' slogan in Bengal right now, Ms Banerjee yesterday said, ' The BJP has been using religious slogan as its party slogan in a misconceived manner by way of mixing religion with politics."
After a series of violent incidents during Lok Sabha poll and post-result clashes, particularly between ruling Trinamool Congress and BJP across the state, fresh tension mounted after Ms Banerjee's opposition to the "Jai Sree Ram" chanting and BJP's renewed pledge to carry on the slogan.
On May 30 at Naihati and Bhatpara in North 24 Parganas, Ms Banerjee was seen coming out of her car and shouting at the people, who chanted "Jai Sree Ram", and subsequently ten people were arrested.
BJP's Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh, who was then in New Delhi, came back the following day and gheraoed the police station to protest the arrest and threatened that Barrackpore may face Nandigram and Singur like situation. Mr Singh also threatened to send ten lakh postcards of "Jai Sree Ram" to Ms Banerjee's residence.
Ms Banerjee in her facebook post said, ' We wish to inform the people that some BJP supporters are trying to spread hatred through a section of media - so called BJP media and so called fake videos, fake news, misinformation and disinformation to create confusion and to suppress truth and reality. So far as media is considered, we have no problem as it is their choice and prerogative. From Ram Mohan Roy to Vidyasagar to other great social reformers, Bengal has been the seat of harmony, progress and forward thinking," she said, adding,"but now, the misconceived strategy of BJP is targeting Bengal in a very negative manner. "
'I have no problem, regarding any particular slogan of political parties in their rallies, and for their party purpose. Every political party has their own slogan. My party has Jai Hind, Vande Mataram. The Left has Inquilab Zindabad. Others have different slogans. We respect each other. Jai Sia Ram, Jai Ram ji ki, Ram naam Satya hai etc have religious and social connotations. We respect these sentiments. But BJP is using religious slogan Jai Sri Ram as their party slogan in a misconceived manner by way of mixing religion with politics, " she opined.
'We do not respect this forcible enforcement of political slogans on others in the name of so called RSS which Bengal never accepted. This is a deliberate attempt to sell hatred ideology through vandalism and violence which we must oppose together. One can fool some people sometimes, but cannot fool all the people all the time. We have to and would oppose such moves of BJP very strongly in order to keep secular character of the country as enshrined in our Constitution, " Ms Banerjee maintained (UNI)