Mamata to tour Congress strongholds in Bengal from today

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Kolkata, Aug 29: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is set to visit the northern districts of the state, including Malda, Murshidabad and the two Dinajpurs, on Wednesday. These districts are traditionally bastions of the Congress, which despite being an ally of Banerjee's Trinamool Congress in the state government, does not have a smooth relation with the senior party. Banerjee's tour will be a five-day affair.

Banerjee's latest visit has not been accepted by the Congress in a good spirit. The latter has accused the CM of misusing the government machinery to draw crowds at her rallies.

Earlier on Tuesday, Banerjee warned her critics and opponents not to play with fire and encourage riots in the state. She said her party considers Hindus and Muslims as flowers of the same stalk and she took care of both communities. Her minister Subrata Mukhopadhyay slammed the Congress, saying it had turned into a sub-committee of the CPI(M).

The CM said she had drawn the attention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Assam riots after critics accused her of remaining silent on the riots. She said her government would give shelter to those who fled Assam.

Mamata not in favour of toppling the government at Centre

Meanwhile, Banerjee said on Tuesday that she would not topple the Manmohan Singh government despite her differences with the Centre. When asked whether she was eyeing for a mid-term poll, Banerjee said she did not want the government to fall. However, she added that she was not afraid of a mid-term poll.

Banerjee said polls are always welcome in a democracy but the timing should depend on the situation.

The Bengal CM said she was trying her best to improve the situation in her state despite serious shortage of funds. She said the improved situation in Darjeeling and Jangalmahal, e-governance, e-tendering, tax reforms, six lakh employment, distribution of 10 lakh kisan credit cards, reservation for women and OBCs were among her government's good work in the last one year.

She also lambasted the CPI(M) over 'its insistence on coal blocks without tender' following the statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that states ruled by the Opposition parties strongly opposed competitive bidding of coal, saying it would harm the states' interest. The CPI(M) was leading the former Left Front government in West Bengal at that time. Senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, however, refuted the PM's statement.

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