Bengal worst governed state: Chidambaram

Kolkata/Canning: Ahead of the third phase of polls, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the Centre has been keeping tab on law and order in West Bengal, which he held was "the worst governed state", with its financial health in a mess.

"If the CPI(M) thinks that we don`t record what is happening in West Bengal, it is wrong. We know what has happened and what has been happening in the last 34 years in the state," he told a press conference in Kolkata and while campaigning at Canning in South 24 Parganas district.

Chidambaram said that ever since his take-over of the Home ministry,

"I have been carefully watching the situation in West Bengal. For two and a half years ago, I have been keeping record of law and order in the state."

"For too long we had a government that neglected governance. West Bengal is the worst-governed state in the country and our immediate concern is law and order," the union minister, who was here to campaign for the Congress-Trinamool Congress combine, said.

"I am constrained to say that sub-standard administration exists in West Bengal whose financial health is precarious," he said.

"For the last two to four months I have been bringing to the notice of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his colleagues that law and order is deteriorating.

"However, the chief minister was in a state of denial and the bubble burst when Netai (when nine people were killed in West Midnapore district on January 7) occurred," he said.

He cited records to claim that in 2010, "204 persons were killed in inter-party clashes last year, of whom 99 were Trinamool Congress and 60 Congress workers.

"This year so far 26 persons, including 14 Trinamool Congress and four Congress activists, were killed in political violence in West Bengal," he said.

"I squarely blame the CPI-M and its cadres for procuring arms and spreading violence and turning the state into a killing field," he said.

Chidambaram claimed that had it been any other state, the chief minister would have resigned at the failure of the administration to control violence.

He said, "I sincerely hope that after a change in government, the Centre and the state government will work together to stop the killings."

The union minister urged the electorate to make a new beginning from May 13 (the date of counting) "when the world will know that a new government has come to replace the Left Front administration in West Bengal."