State Under Didi’s Rule – West Bengal
State Under Didi’s Rule – West Bengal:
After 34 years of communist rule, the people of Bengal were looking for a change. However, nine months in office and many tragic incidents in the state show life is not rosy under Didi’s rule either.
After her party’s landslide victory in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee took over as the state’s first woman chief minister.
The 34-year-old regime of the Left front finally crumbled to a feisty Mamata Banerjee in the hope that she will turn Bengal around. But nine months on, little seems to have changed in the state.
On Dec 9, 2011, a major fire broke out in the base of one of Kolkata’s top medical facilities- AMRI. The tragedy claimed close to a hundred lives. While most nurses, doctors and other staffers were able to get away, many critically ill patients suffocated to death in their hospital beds. Mamata Baneerjee in a press conference said, “By expressing my thanks, I do not want to belittle the efforts of those who worked tirelessly and silently rescuing the people, dousing the fire or doing the post-mortem procedures. They have done their jobs in excellently. It is their duty to stand beside people in times of need”.
First it was Malda which witnessed the shocking death of 15 babies within 48 hours, then it was Murshidabad. Then Behrampore. Infant deaths have been on a rise in government hospitals in the state.
India saw one of its worst liquor tragedies, as at least 171 people died and over 100 were hospitalised in rural West Bengal after they drank spurious liquor that came as cheap as Rs.10 a glass. The liquor tragedy victims at various villages in Magrahat Block in South 24 Parganas district were mostly masons, wage labourers and hawkers, who sat in shanties to drink as a way to relax after a hard day’s work. The drink came for Rs.10 a glass or Rs.20 a plastic pouch and, according to reports, many boys in their pre-teens and teens are among the victims.
October last year Mamata Banerjee gave a seven-day ultimatum to Maoists in the state to give up arms and come to the talks table. A month later the Intelligence Bureau issued a warning that Maoist are planning to eliminate her along with twelve of her cabinet ministers.
The efforts of the West Bengal administration, led by the state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, to play down rape cases have raised the hackles of rights bodies and the public alike. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also rejected reports of gangrape of a woman in Burdwan’s Katwa and blamed the Communist Party of India-Marxist for orchestrating a malicious campaign against her government.
Although Mamata isn’t entirely responsible for the state Bengal is in, these recent incidents don’t help her cause to build a better Bengal. But with four more years in power, Bengal will only hope for a change of fortune and pray that Didi delivers half of the promises she made.