After one year, West Bengal left wanting for more

After one year, West Bengal left wanting for more

After one year, West Bengal left wanting for more

After Mamata Banerjee toppled a decadent Left government in West Bengal, observers predicted the she might prevent the state reeling under 30 years of misrule from slipping into dystopia. She assumed charge as chief minister exactly an year back amidst much fanfare. An year on, the charm has waned.

While the one-year-old Trinamool Congress government has earned pats for handling the red rebels and the Gorkhaland issue with efficacy, brickbats were showered aplenty over its failure to tackle mounting debts, a fragile relationship with the Congress and inability to accept criticism, as was apparent in the recent cartoon row.

The TMC government has made a considerable headway in tackling the Maoist menace in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore, especially after the killing of rebel leader Kishenji and surrender of 23 Maoists including top brass Suchitra Mahato and Jagori Baske.
Besides, within two months of assuming charge, Banerjee brokered the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Agreement which not only restored normalcy in the hills, but triggered a tourism boom as well.

The silver lining ends here, contrary to Banerjee’s claim that “the government has completed 99 per cent of what it had set out to achieve.”

Several contentious decisions by the West Bengal government, including the recent order screening newspapers to be kept by state-run libraries and the arrest of a professor for spreading a cartoon on Banerjee and that of a scientist for participating in an anti-eviction drive, besides the chief minister’s controversial remarks on the Park Street rape case, had triggered a furore across the state.

While the state is buried under a humongous debt of Rs 200,000 crore, the government has failed to attract investors, who has cited “inflexible attitude and anti-SEZ policies of the government” for keeping away from West Bengal.  Moreover, the chief minister has been accused of deserting the people of Singur and Nandigram who had once rallied behind her in the protests against land acquisition. Her erstwhile supporters are now a disgruntled lot, especially since it is believed that Banerjee’s vociferous protests against the Left government’s land acquisition policy was instrumental in catapulting her to the seat of power.

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