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Bengal DA protesters in Delhi warn ‘intense’ agitation if Mamata Banerjee remains defiant, forum members vouch to fight

Protests, agitations are common at the Jantar Mantar. We journalists make regular visits to the venue to cover political rallies, mass agitations over social issues. Past two days Jantar Mantar witnessed a different kind of protest. Over 500 state government employees working across various offices in West Bengal staged an agitation at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar demanding the Dearness Allowances (DA). Their agitation entered into 75th day on April 11, 2023 (Tuesday) in Kolkata where protesters are sitting on a dharna at the iconic Shahid Minar (Ochterlony Monument). The first batch of ‘Sangrami Jautha Mancha’ members comprising of around 300 people left for Delhi by Howrah Rajdhani Express on Saturday and another 200 members left for Delhi by Sealdah Rajdhani Express on Sunday. “The members of ‘Sangrami Jautha Mancha’ will sit on a dharna at the Jantar Mantar on April 10 and 11, 2023. We are compelled to take this decision as our state government is in a complete defiance mood,” Informed Bhaskar Ghosh, convener of the Sangrami Joutho Mancha. The Delhi Police had issued permits from 10 am to 4 pm for both days.

Demands at a glance:
1) Demand for the Dearness Allowances (DA).
2) Permanent job for the contractual workers.
3) Focus on the teachers’ recruitment scam.

Besides their demand for DA, the agitation also focused against the alleged teachers’ recruitment scam that has ashamed Bengal. Former Education Minister Partha Chaterjee, a close confidant of Trinamool Supremo Mamata Banerjee and nephew turned party General Secretary Abhiskek Banerjee, was the first catch by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). One of the biggest scam ever, numerous Trinamool leaders – From Kuntal Ghosh, a youth wing Hooghly district leader to party leader Shantanu Banerjee, the list is endless. Close confidant of the Banerjee’s, SujayKrishna Bhadra was served a notice asking him to appear before the investigating agencies at Nizam Palace in Kolkata. Bhadra who was once the all-in-all of nephew’s company, ‘Leaps & Bounds’, was mentioned as ‘Kalighat r Kaku’ (Kalighat’s Uncle) by Ghosh during the interrogation. Infact, Kuntal had named Shantanu who raised money from the job-seekers.

However, the members of the forum had to postpone their plans to meet and submit a memorandum to President Draupadi Murmu, Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharama and few other politicians as they were out of station. According to members of the forum, the meeting will commence later. On Tuesday, they went to submit the memorandum at the respective offices.

“We have come to Delhi not just for the DA but we also want to raise our voices against the teachers’ recruitment scam. We stand beside them. So many deserving candidates were deprived of their jobs because they could not pay the money,” said Debabrata Mukherjee, member, Sangrami Jautha Mancha: (See the video)

Mukherjee also mentioned the attitude of the state government and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had once said, “gheu gheu kore laabh nei. aami gheu gheu ke bhoi paina…aami jaani ki korte hobe…” (Don’t bark, it will not help…I am not scared of barking…I know what to do). “She compared us with barking dogs…We are asking for our rights not begging,” added Mukherjee: (See Video)

Slogans like, “Sangrami Jautha Manch long live” or “khela mela shob e holo, DA r taka kothai gelo… artho montri jwabab chai…jwabab dao” made Jantar Mantar ‘hot’, their voices could be heard from the main road leading towards the venue. Their slogans, songs and poems reflected their conviction to fight out till their last breath.

Snehashis, member of Sangrami Jautha Mancha had a hard hitting message for the Chief Minister, “We run the government and you are depriving us of our genuine demands. We know everybody’s secrets. Stop this at once else get ready to face more intense agitation in the coming days.” Another member of the forum, Shantanu Mondal said, “Our demand is DA and we want to show Mamata Banerjee that we are united and are capable to fight for our rights.”

The agitation in the capital ended on Tuesday on a strong note. The state government may call them “barking dogs” or “cheats who had managed to secure their jobs by palm greasing of the Left”, but the members of the Sangrami Jautha Mancha will stand united for their rights and they will see an end to their already 75-days ‘dharna’ at the Shahid Minar in Kolkata. “We are ready to sit for many more days,” said S Som. Mamata Banerjee may call this “choto ghotona” (petty incident), “sajano ghotona” (concocted incident) or “bohiragoto der kaaj” (work of aliens), her three cult ‘catch phrases’ but the spirits of the forum is quite high and they are ready to take the state government’s ‘defiance’ head on.

Qualified TET candidates on roads against Mamata Banerjee’s assurances, demand jobs

Hundreds of candidates, who claimed to have cleared Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) in 2014, staged a ‘dharna’ on Monday outside the office of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education in Salt Lake, demanding that they be given immediate job appointment letters. Incidentally, few job seekers sitting on dharna since years at the Maidan, received the appointment letter after the intevention of Justice Abhijit Ganguly of Calcutta High Court who reprimanded the Mamata Banerjee government by saying, “I cannot imagine such corruption in life..”

The candidates who have cleared their exams are still waiting for the job appointment, many among them have lost their parents in the due course of time but still nothing has happened. The agitators said that they had appeared for two interviews after qualifying the written TET 2014 examination, but did not get jobs vide its panel, which, according to the board, has expired. The candidates made it clear that they would not want to appear for a fresh examination as announced by the government for this year, the candidates demanded that they be appointed as teachers in West Bengal government-sponsored and -aided schools as per the previous merit list.

The protesters on Monday afternoon had sat on a dharna and blocked the road at the busy Karunamoyee crossing initially, but later on shifted to the primary education board office, situated near the by. Mamata Banerjee’s police had tried its best to disperse the protesters by miking all thorough the evening but the agitators turned a deaf ear. “We are on a peaceful agitation and our protest is peaceful. We are not disturbing anybody or causing harassment to anyone, then why should we move”, said a protesters. They all accused the state government for doing nothing to help the incumbents to get a job. All of them have been requesting the state government past few years. They demand an answer from the Chief Minister why they should not be given a job having already cleared all rounds in 2014.

The education in West Bengal has collapsed. The people in the state have become more skeptical after the recent action by Enforcement Directorate (ED) cracking the education scam in the state. The arrest of former Education Minister Partha Chatterjee and recently former West Bengal Board of primary education chairman Manik Bhattacharya have irked the people who had been demanding a reply for not getting job since 2014. Bhattacharya was removed from the post of chairman on an order of the Calcutta High Court, before which a number of petitions have been moved alleging graft in the appointment process of teachers in state-sponsored and -aided schools.

क्या राजनितिक स्वार्थ चरितार्थ करने के लिए ‘नया तृणमूल ‘ का डंका?

बंगाल में एक नया राजनीती का आग़ाज़ होने जा रहा है। तृणमूल सुप्रीमो ममता बनर्जी के भतीजे और पार्टी के नैशनल जनरल सेक्रेटरी अभिषेक बनर्जी का “नया तृणमूल” बनाने का नारा शहर भर के पोस्टरों और फ्लेक्सों में देखा जा रहा है। कुछ लोग इस सोच से प्रभावित होकर बनर्जी परिवार के कसीदे पढ़ ने लग गायें हैं। इनमें से कुछ को समझ नहीं आ रहा की आखिर झुके तो किस तरफ? एक तरफ तो ममता बनर्जी हैं और दूसरी तरफ भतीजा अभिषेक. वैसे सवाल उठ सकता है की आखिर तरफदारी वाली बात क्यों या कहाँ से उठ रही है, तो आपको बता दें की नया तृणमूल के पोस्टरों और फ्लेक्सों में अभिषेक बनर्जी का फोटो दिख रहा है, हाल फिलहाल तृणमूल नेताओं से बातें करें और पार्टी की प्रभुता पर सवाल पूछें तो आपको अजीब सा जवाब सुनने को मिलेगा – ममता हमारी लीडर हैं और पार्टी के कप्तान अभिषेक बनर्जी हैं। साफ़ है की पार्टी के लोग इस सवाल से कन्नी काटते नज़र आते हैं। ममता बनर्जी के खिलाफ बोलना नागवार गुज़र सकती है तो वहीँ अभिषेक को नाराज़ करना महँगा पड़ सकता है।

अभिषेक बनर्जी ने यह भी कहा की “नया तृणमूल” करप्शन को बढ़ावा नहीं देगी और ऐसे सभी नेता मंत्री जिनका नाम करप्शन से जुड़ा हुआ मिले उनको पार्टी बहिष्कार करेगी। सुनने में बोहोत अच्छा लगता है पर क्या तृणमूल अपनी तोला वाली छवि सुधार सकेगी? क्या अभिषेक बनर्जी अपने पार्टी के कर्मिओं को हिदायत दे सकते हैं कि कोई भी तोला लेते पाया गया तो उसको उसी वक्त पार्टी निष्काषित करेगी। तो फिर चुनाव कैसे लड़ेंगे? चुनाव से पहले ‘लॉलीपाँप’ का पैसा कहाँ से आएगा?

अब तीन अहम् सवाल जो मेरे ज़हन में उठ रही है और मुझे लगता है सभी के ज़हन में उठ रही है:

(१) “नया तृणमूल” का नारा क्यों? क्या ‘परिवर्तित’ या ‘बदलाव के साथ’ ऐसा कह कर परोसा नहीं जा सकता था?
(२) अगर सुप्रीमो ममता बनर्जी ही रहेंगी तो पोस्टरों और फ्लेक्सों पर अभिषेक बनर्जी का बड़ा बड़ा फोटो क्यों?
(३) अगर “नया तृणमूल” सुप्रीमो के संज्ञान में था तो उन्होंने इस पर चुप्पी क्यों सधी हुई है?
(४) क्या ममता बनर्जी अब पार्टी में अब सेकेण्ड क्लास सिटीजन बन गयी हैं?
(५) “नया तृणमूल” का ऐलान अभिषेक ने जिला के एक रैली से की। इतनी बड़ी खबर कोलकाता में आधिकारिक तौर पर प्रेस वार्ता करके क्यों नहीं?
(६) क्या “नया तृणमूल” ममता बनर्जी को कोने में धकेल ने का एक बहाना नहीं है?

सवाल तीखे ज़रूर लग रहे हैं, पर यह मुद्दा इतना आसान नहीं है जितना हल्का दिखाया जा रहा है। इसके दो अहम् वजह हैं:

(१) ममता को बंगाल के लोगों ने मुख्यमंत्री की कुर्सी पर बिठाया था तो ममता के प्रति उनका विशवास और आस्था की वजह से, ममता ने कुछ काम तो ज़रूर किया है पर महज़ ममता के कहने पर जनता अभिषेक को क्यों उस कुर्सी पर बिठाये?
(२) अगर ममता प्रधान मंत्री बन भी जाती है और बंगाल में नया मुख्यमंत्री बनना हो तो कायदे से चुनाव होंगे, इस तरह से भतीजावाद नहीं चल सकता।

बंगाल में तृणमूल ने जो भी किया न किया, उसका ज़िम्मेदार ममता बनर्जी हैं… न की अभिषेक बनर्जी। आखिर में एक सवाल, आखिर अभिषेक बनर्जी ने कौनसा खम्बा उखरा है की बंगाल के लोग उनको मुख्यमंत्री के रूप में प्रोजेक्ट करें?

Mamata Banerjee terms ED probe vindictive, still eyes PM’s chair; are people fool?

Perhaps, the only option left now for Trinamool Supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to fulfill her aspirations of becoming Prime Minister ahead of 2024 General Elections is to find alliance with neighbouring Bihar and Jharkhand. On Thursday, Banerjee said, she will join hands with these states to oust Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

“I, Nitish Kumar, Hemant Soren and many others will come together in 2024. All opposition parties will join hands to defeat the BJP. All of us will be on one side and the BJP on the other. The BJP’s arrogance of 300 seats will be its nemesis. There will be Khela Hobe’ in 2024”, said Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee has herself ruined her position. She may try to show that Partha Chatterjee, Anubrata mandol, and likes will not oput any dent on the vote bank of the party but fact is people in the state (barring the ‘bhakts’) are quite apprehensive of her winning. Bengalies who had elected her to power in 2011, are already cursing themselves, “khub bhul korechi aamraa Trinamool ke ene, bujhte parini je era eram korbe…” (We are really repenting for bringing Trinamool to power, honestly, we did not understand that they would play this game with us…) said, a co-passenger on auto enrouted to Behala from Rashbihari Avenue in Kolkata on the condition of anonymity.

If this was not enough then a shopkeeper in Gariahat, Kolkata said, “aamraa lal r shomai onek bhaalo chilam, Trinamool amader kono bhaalo koreni. ja ja bolechilo ekta kothao rakheni… eder shobtai mithey r opor dariye…” (We were good still during the CPI(M) era as Trinamool said a lot but did not keep a single word. They rest on lies …).

This is not alien, you talk to anybody across Bengal and they will share their plight. The problem is Banerjee has time to hold Press conferences, events, jalsa but hardly finds time anymore to reach out to the masses. This is why people are drifting apart from her.

Pity! Even after the shameful revelation that her her close confidant Partha Chatterjee had not only allegedly did money laundering but had gifted to his numerous girlfriends, spoecial being Arpita Mukherjee. Her “Keshta’ (Krishna), Anubarata Mandol too stands exposed. What does Banerjee think? People in Bengal are fool. She must remember that if people in the state could elect her to power then they can also throw her party out of power. The biggest example was Nandigram where she boasted of winning the seat against Suvendu Adhikari but had lost the elections and had to seek re polling from her jome turf Bhawanipore.

Enough to make people understand the charisma Banerjee had is gone and people are in nomood to beleive in her blind folded, the fall of Trinamool is evident… and this no “choto ghotona” (small incident), “sajano ghotona” (concocted incident).

Trinamool MP Saugata Roy threatens opposition with ‘shoe’

Trinamool had come to power in 2011 after people wanted to get rid of the misrule of Left regime in the state. The party had coined two catch phrases – ‘bodla noi bodol chai’ (not revenge but change), and ‘Maa Mati Manush’. Nandigram and Shingur were too scape goats that Trinamool Supremo Mamata Banerjee had banked upon. The two issues were blown out of proportion, as even today inspite of so-called “greenland” Shingur is reeling under unemployment. It was Banerjee who kicked out the Tata’s Nano project out of the state. Talk to locals in Shingur, they now confide, had they not been washed away by false promises of “Didi” then Shingur too would have developed like other Tata bastions. Infact, ancillary industries had come up in the region.

Veteran Trinamool MP (from Dum Dum, north Kolkata), and retired professor of Physics from the iconic the Aushotosh College during a political meeting in Kolkata said, “If there is any BJP or CPI(M) activist in Kolkata, listen carefully. If any of you cross the limits of decency by branding every one of the TMC as thieves while attacking the party, don’t blame us if our party men beat you up with shoes.” This has sparked off serious controversy as the opposition in the state look at it as an open threatening. The veteran MP had warned the opposition by saying, “Don’t complain if you are driven out of your locality by our members”.

Perhaps, Saugata Roy has also forgotten the coinage “bodla noi bodol chai” or was this a mere slogan to woo voters? According to party spokesperson, Kunal Ghosh who tried to cover up the controversy, said, the recent attacks on Trinamool leaders in wake of Partha Chatterjee and Anubrata Mandol episode has probably hurt Roy.