Mamatas fine balance between agri and industry a success

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Kolkata: The roots of success of Mamata Banerjee, who fought the CPI-M single-handedly in ending its 34-year rule in West Bengal, was in striking a fine balance between the aspirations of the agriculture and industry sectors and the state`s development.

The party could bag 184 out of 294 Assembly seats in the state on Banerjee`s ability to project herself as a leader of the poor and the rural have-nots, a friend of minorities, a champion of inclusive growth and one genuinely interested in delivering the goods.

While capitalising on the fear of farmers that they would lose their land to industry, she also managed to assure investors that their interests would not be overlooked.

Trinamool Congress, which was relatively weak in North Bengal than the Congress and the Left Front, emerged as a major force in the region, where Mamata Banerjee played the development card by inaugurating various railway projects and flagging off a number of trains to improve the region`s connectivity.

In North Bengal, where the Trinamool Congress held only the Dinhata Assembly seat in the 2006 elections, it bagged 16 of the 54 seats, while ally Congress won 17.

In 2006, the region had 49 seats, 38 of which were won by the Left Front. This time, the Front managed to win only 16 seats while the Gorkha Janmukti Moracha bagged three seats and Independents two.

The Trinamool saw huge success in South Dinajpur district bagging five of the six seats, while its candidate in Siliguri Rudranath Bhattacharya defeated CPI(M) heavyweight Ashok Bhattacharya, known as the `chief minister` of North Bengal.

With Ashok Bhattacharya`s defeat, Trinamool was able to break ground in Darjeeling district which has six seats, three of which were bagged by GJM and two by Congress.

Seeking to turn the GJM`s Gorkhaland agitation to its advantage, the CPI(M) tried to play on the majority Bengali sentiments in the plains of Darjeeling against the Gorkhaland "threat," but the effort did not cut ice with the voters.

In the Maoist-hit districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura which account for 40 seats, the Trinamool Congress did not get a single seat in 2006, but could break the CPI(M) monopoly this time by winning 21 seats, thanks to Banerjee`s tireless efforts in mobilising her support base.

While the Left Front, especially the CPI(M), relentlessly accused her of having a nexus with the Maoists, she played her cards well by carving out a development path for Junglemahal. While she denounced individual killings on one hand, she also raised her voice against the action by the joint forces, saying common people were being harassed.

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