KOLKATA: Twin realities of corruption in Trinamool’s lower echelons and an unhappy vote bank hit the party hard on Saturday, the first day its MLAs started visiting their constituencies as part of the Didi Ke Bolo (Tell Your Sister) campaign. The common people’s anger and resentment reflected how the ruling party is losing its grassroots connect in Bengal. North Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh had to visit a village in Cooch Behar under tight security. He could barely spend 30 minutes at the village and had to abandon his plan to spend the night there.
According to Trinamool sources, a villager complained that a local party leader had taken Rs 7.5 lakh from him promising a state government job for his son. ‘‘Neither has my son got the job nor have I got my money back,’’ he reportedly alleged. Tourism minister Gautam Deb visited Phapri village near Siliguri where villagers complained of land mafia threatening them to sell their land. The area is witnessing a tourism boom and many buyers are turning up to purchase property here.
Rajiblochan Soren, the MLA from Bandwan in Purulia, was left embarrassed when villagers told him how the poor had to pay cut money to get benefits such as old-age pension and Awas Yojana schemes.
Pradyut Ghosh, an MLA from Narayangarh in Jhargram could not trace a villager, who is known to be a BJP supporter. The party has asked the leadership to interact with BJP supporters during their public relation drive.
‘‘Our MLAs are listening to the grievances raised by villagers. We will sit with them once their village-visit programmes are over and decide our next course of action based on their experience,’’ said a senior Trinamool leader in Kolkata.The campaign was launched by West Bengal Chief Minister and All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee on July 29.
The campaign is meant to reach out to the people of West Bengal and address their grievances. For this, the party launched a dedicated helpline number and a website. It aims to reach at least 80 percent of the households in the state to inform and engage them with initiative over the next 20 months, the party said.