That all repeated talks, denouncements, vituperative attacks, criticisms, negative parlance et al about West Bengal’s ruling party Trinamool Congress is utter bunkum, sheer crap, motivated whistle-blowing is fully evident in the constant hustle-bustle in the gigantic office of the West Bengal’s ruling party Trinamool Congress in Kolkata. In that office, day in and day out, people of all caste, creed, credo, from all nooks and corners of the state are jam-packed. They virtually keep the party office teeming with figures of all shades unlike the prevailing and all-pervading sight, scenario, situations even in New Delhi-situated 24 Akbar Road, hqs of the country’s oldest political party Congress. Although Congress is said to be a movement and not a party, yet, in its 24 Akbar Road office, that sight is hardly visible except during election-time. In Trinamool Congress office, people of all hues are all the time ‘welcome’; they are ‘welcome’ to speak their mind out; they are treated like ‘human beings’; they are free to bring out their appeals, complaints, opinions, comments, requests, demands, and even, criticisms without any ado, hitch, blotch, reservation. It (the sight) is indeed remarkable for an ‘outsider’. He/she is forced to wonder if such a party spreads all over the country, how will it indeed be ? Where will be the Indian National Congress and its double-edged insiders who are all the time supercilious, touch-me-not, keep-away types. This correspondent who had been watching Trinamool Congress’ immediate predecessor CPI(M) for 34 years that they were in power at a stretch in West Bengal could never establish even basic rapport with CPI(M), its brothers-in-arm CPI, RSP, Forward Bloc and what-had-You. CPI(M) members were simply rude, brash, arrogant, full of deceit, conceit, concealment, double entendres. They were high handed, egocentric, omniscient-posing, omnipotent-posing. Theirs was the last word (even if, they were flagrant lies) — no question asked. Compared to them, Trinamool Congress big-shots (howsoever actually big they are) including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are people-concerning, compassionate, patient, commiserating. No wonder, people of West Bengal willingly, spontaneously, whole heartedly, gladly voted for them to evict CPI(M) from West Bengal-power, Writer’s Building to be precise. Trinamool Congress is surely a welcome change in the CPI(M)-inflicted pedagogue, aimless monotony, ambition-less West Bengal because of which, it is already decades behind the rest of the country obviously in terms of development per se. Mamata Banerjee evidently is engaged hammer-and-tongs in making West Bengal 2012-compatible at the soonest and take the state beyond that. Competently, adroitly, impeccably giving her full support, looking after the orderliness in the Trinamool Congress office is her ‘Mr Dependable’, ‘Mr Trouble Shooter’, ‘Mr Watchful’ Mukul Roy. An extremely affable, convivial, ego-free, rationale, rational, yet, alert, agile, acerbic personality, Roy is indeed a veritable treat to interview. His concepts are clear, thoughts are even clearer, utterances are even more clearer. He gives an exclusive interview with LOK PANCHAYAT answering questions on Trinamool Congress, Mamata Banerjee, and, his national responsibility, Union Railways Ministry of which he is the Cabinet Minister.
Q: How is Trinamool Congress as political party placed in West Bengal today ? Rather, now ?
A: Recently in the assembly elections and 6 repolls (in West Bengal), it has been (clearly, flagrantly) proved, evinced that Trinamool Congress has increased their support level (in all sections of the people in West Bengal) compared to its position, status, entity in 2011.
CPI(M)’s voting percentage compared to earlier days has markedly, flagrantly depleted, brashly reduced. (The trend evinces that CPI(M) is fast on wane and its support-base all through West Bengal state is fast dwindling, depleting, shrinking as if it is on the brink of extinction. Already, CPI(M) is anachronous, incongruous in West Bengal.) Two assembly by elections have taken place in the state. Trinamool Congress has won both with the margin of 15,000-20,000 votes. In 6 civic or municipality polls, we have got 4 while (in) earlier (election), we got 1. This time, INC (Congress) got 1, CPI(M) has been able to retain 1.
From this, it is amply, abundantly (crystal) clear that the people of (West) Bengal are very much in and with Trinamool Congress (whatever anti-Trinamool Congress elements may say to the contrary blowing their trumpets hoarse). TC (Trinamool Congress) is very much confidently succeeding in increasing its support and it is very much wanted by the people of Bengal. They (actually, seriously, sincerely) want to be governed, administered by Trinamool Congress which truly believes in all round development, all round welfare of Maa, Maatee, Maanoosh and their all round benevolence. Under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, resurgence, resurrection, renaissance, required rectification, revamp, refurbishment (at present) of West Bengal are going on in full swing, with top gusto, full enthusiasm, complete care, impeccable supervision so that all sections of all people in Bengal are satisfied without any dissatisfaction of any kind.
Q: From Bengal, are You, or, is Trinamool Congress planning to spread its wings all over India ?
A: Of course, yes without any slightest doubt. Trinamool Congress is seriously spreading its wings all over the country at present. In the recently concluded assembly elections, in Manipur, Trinamool Congress bagged 7 seats. In Arunachal Pradesh, TC won 6 seats. In Uttar Pradesh, TC won 1 seat defeating INC, Lok Jan Shakti Party, Samajwadi Party. It clearly indicates, rather evinces, in national level, TC is going ahead with full steam steadily without any repression, oppression, hindrance.
Q: Will Trinamool Congress Chairperson Mamata Banerjee, according to Delhi-sayings, be able to take care of entire India?
A: Of course yes and that too, assertively, self-assuredly, with full confidence, conviction. She will be fully successful in the national role of administering the entire country. She is conceptualizing, visualising, contriving, planning, articulating all Trinamool Congress programs to give it a national flavour. TC wants that it should be a household name in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Sikkim, Kashmir, Delhi, UP, MP, Maharashtra and everywhere else in the country. We are sincerely, honestly, earnestly, whole-heartedly working towards that direction, executing in toto her fully laid-down blue prints for TC to be fanned all over the country. All over the country, there is a tremendous tumultuous demand for TC because nationwide, the message has spread that the people in West Bengal are immensely benefiting from TC, Mamata Banerjee, her Government, her concern for the people of all hues, her delivery of her commitments to them in full and that they (people of West Bengal) are practically experiencing that Mamata Banerjee is their ‘present’, Mamata Banerjee is their ‘tomorrow’, Mamata Banerjee is their ‘future’ as well without any slightest second thought. Her impeccable adherence to Maa, Maatee, Maanoosh (or, the masses of all hues) is truly effective. People all over the country now want to spread her similar fangs all through the country so that they too experience her ‘astute, realistic, genuine, result-giving administration’. People in the country do realize that TC does not believe in giving false promises, assurances or propagate false gimmicks, false assurances, false camouflaging, false threats, false ‘anything’ for that matter. TC actually believes in implementing Mamata Banerjee’s leadership, her programmes, her assurances, her promises to the fullest so that more and more people all through the country look at her expectedly, hopefully, seriously. They are now convinced that Mamata Banerjee wants they always spontaneously, willingly, automatically keep their heads high and are self sufficient in the real sense.
Along side, they without hitch say, they support TC sans any coercion or pressure but they actually like TC and Mamata Banerjee. The aim, goal is that the countrymen unitedly vociferously say, TC is their party, Mamata Banerjee is their shotteekaarer (true) Deedee jeenee tnaader shob shomoy chenen, jaanen, bojhen, shohojogeetaa koren kaaron teenee tnaader daaraa, tnaader jonney, tnaader saathey.
Q: In this context, I must ask You this : If TC and Mamata Banerjee are doing such stupendous good jobs in Poscheem Bongo, how come INC, Your partner in West Bengal Government, denounce, often castigate, Mamata Banerjee ? Also how come INC MLAs like (Rashtrpati aspirant) Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit Mukherjee openly and repeatedly denounce her on record, criticize her saying she’s non-functional, she does not take decisions, and that Congress will soon form Government in West Bengal by ejecting Mamata Banerjee and TC ?
A: According to our country’s officially laid-out, laid-down rules, elections are the only method of judging a political party’s popularity. Since Trinamool Congress is continuously winning elections after elections, do anti-TC speakers matter ? They may go on saying what they want but who bothers about them ? The masses do not heed to them at all in any way.
Q: So the message about TC is fully clear?
A: The message (about Trinamool Congress) is fully clear : In Abhijit Mukherjee’s constituency, Congress has convincingly lost to Trinamool Congress. Thus, Abhijit Mukherjee may say whatever he wants to say about TC, the fact is, TC has won in his constituency. Congress has lost in his constituency in the grass root elections which are the foundation of all political parties’ popularity test.
Q: From here, this is an obvious question that why should TC continue to align with INC ?
A: Again it is a million $ question. In our election manifesto, we have said that we will support UPA. At the same time, we have got our own election manifesto. We will continue to abide by our own election manifesto. We will continue to abide by the common people’s (or Aam Aadmi) problems, hassles, hazards, difficulties, hurdles and solve them. We always want to be with the people so that they always identify TC and Mamata Banerjee with them all the time, in all occasions, for all purposes without any hitch, glitch, hiccup of any kind. Trinamool Congress is people (jonoshaadhoron), people are Trinamool Congress.
Q: UPA in Delhi also has election manifesto. Is it not abiding by that?
A: I will answer it this way : We have Trinamool Congress manifesto. We will abide by that. … Tomorrow’s party in the country is undoubtedly Trinamool Congress and tomorrow’s national leader is indefatigable, irrepressible, impeccable, impressive, commiserating, masses-appealing, masses-concerned, masses’ benevolent, national statured, internationally household name Mamata Banerjee.
Q: As for the Railways Ministry whose Cabinet Minister you are, is it functioning according to your expectations?
A: I must say this relating to this question : In Railways, 64,000 km routes are there. In the Railways, 20,000 trains ply. In Railways, 8,000 stations and points are there. 2.2 million people are travelling by Indian Railways regularly. In these, one human error means a big thing. To eliminate this even one error (along with others), time has come to take technological support. Anti Collision Device system etc are required to completely exclude the question of human error. New coaches are required, new so many things are required in Indian Railways to cope up with safe journey of the people in Indian Railways.
Now Indian Railways required one time support from the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) to meet the expenses required to make technology in Indian Railways up to date so that Railways can fully eliminate all lapses and human errors. 14 lakh people are working in the Railways. Rs 76,000 crore recommendation for Railways in the last (Union) budget has been already put into the action. I will not say that financial crunch is there in the Railways. Our employees are getting their salaries, TA, DA etc. No project has been stopped in the Railways for want of money. For techlogical modenisation of the Railways however, we need some financial support.
Q: In view of global financial crunch and India being part of it, there is a sort of recession here too. Since Railways is part of India, it too is facing the pinch of the financial crunch. Thus to say Railways is in doldrums under you is absolutely not correct, right?
A: Yes. Railways is very much part of all this (above) and can’t be isolated from it in any way. At the same time, we are going to introduce our Rail Budget Announcements as per schedule. New line are being put up, all the pre-scheduled works are going on as per the schedule. All regular works are going on as per the schedule. What Railways wants is funds for its modernization so that the present human errors are reduced drastically, immediately. Single line rails are being converted into double lines so and so forth. Let’s face it : Railways is life line of this country. For Railways, profits are not always uppermost. Railways is a service to the people. It is mobility for the people in the country. It can not be isolated from the people. At the same time, it is all the more important that its modernization comes about so that human errors in its operation are eliminated.
Q: This is relevant to you : You are hardly in Delhi. You are always in Kolkata. How does Railways function without you at its helm of affairs as Railways Cabinet Minister?
A: Ask all railways-men all over the country whether they are suffering because of my absence in Delhi. No files are pending in the Railways Board. No Railways-related works are pending in the Railways Ministry. I am not a keraanee (clerk). I am not required to sit in the Rail Bhavan from morning till evening. I know what’s my duty and how and when to perform it. I can say this for sure that I am doing my full ministerial duties according to the satisfaction of the Indian Railways, its men.
Q: What more would you like to do for Indian Railways ?
A: Regarding infrastructure in Indian Railways, I had a meeting in the PMO. A DPR (Detailed Project Report) relating to infrastructure in Railways will go to the Cabinet in this Financial Year itself. There it will be discussed. Thereafter, decisions (on it) will be taken. Chaapra Workshop, Rae Bareli Workshop etc are ready. Gauge conversion etc are ready in the country. … In the last 2 months we have performed very well in goods transportation sector. Present economic recession has taken it back a bit.
Q: To end, how do you see Trinamool Congress in the coming days ?
A: TC’s got a dynamic, grassroot leader like Mamata Banerjee. If there is one name on honesty, devotion, dedication in the whole country, it is Mamata Banerjee. She is running the Government for more than a year now. No one can put any corruption charge against her. About Trinamool Congress leaders in Union Cabinet, no corruption charges against them as well (compared to so many others in the UPA Government). In the coming days, Trinamool Congress will surely emerge as honest national party. Along with that, Mamata Banerjee will be automatically naturally catapulted to national stature.