Mamata bats for 'locals for govt jobs', BJP calls it political move aimed at 2024 LS polls

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who returned to power for the third consecutive term this year riding on Bengali sub-nationalism, on Wednesday said that priority in recruitment to state government jobs will be accorded to residents of the state who know the local language.The opposition BJP, which failed to counter the TMCs Bengali sub-nationalism narrative in the assembly elections, alleged that the decision was aimed at fanning divide between Bengalis and non-Bengalis for political gains in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.I am telling this to all the states.


PTI | Malda | Updated: 08-12-2021 22:20 IST | Created: 08-12-2021 22:18 IST
Mamata bats for 'locals for govt jobs', BJP calls it political move aimed at 2024 LS polls
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who returned to power for the third consecutive term this year riding on Bengali sub-nationalism, on Wednesday said that priority in recruitment to state government jobs will be accorded to residents of the state who know the local language.

The opposition BJP, which failed to counter the TMC's Bengali sub-nationalism narrative in the assembly elections, alleged that the decision was aimed at fanning divide between Bengalis and non-Bengalis for political gains in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

''I am telling this to all the states. In West Bengal, if a person is from the state, he/she must get priority during recruitment to state government jobs even if his/her mother tongue is not Bengali. I have no objection to that.

''But that person must know Bengali and should be a resident of the state. If he/she knows more languages, it's good. But knowledge of the local language (Bengali) is a must,'' Banerjee said during an administrative review meeting in Malda district.

To further her argument, she cited the examples of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where she said that residents of the state take up the matter with their respective governments if locals are not recruited in state government jobs.

''In every state, we must ensure that locals get jobs,'' she said.

Banerjee said that this practice would ease administrative affairs.

The chief minister said that in many cases, candidates from other states are selected over the local ones because of their better performance in the examination, but they face problems in communicating with locals due to their lack of knowledge of Bengali, as a result of which they fail to solve the problems.

''…SDOs and BDOs are unable to read letters written in Bengali or reply to those. So, knowledge of the local language is a must otherwise, they can't solve people's problems,'' Banerjee said.

She directed Chief Secretary H K Dwivedi to look into the matter and work out a solution.

The announcement was criticised by the opposition BJP, which accused Banerjee of creating a rift between Bengalis and non-Bengalis for political gains.

''We are happy that priority is being given to Bengali. But it seems that the decision was aimed at gaining political dividends in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections by fanning Bengali sub-nationalism. We are against any form of division, be it based on religion or language,'' BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said.

However, Bengali outfits such as Bangla Pokkho welcomed the decision and said it was long due.

''The manner in which Bengalis are being demographically threatened by non-Bengalis, the day is not far when we will become minority in our own land, not just population-wise but also culturally. We are happy that the CM has announced this decision,'' Bangla Pokko leader Kaushik Maiti said.

Several outfits like Bangla Pokkho, which have emerged in the state's political landscape in the last few years, have accused the saffron camp of trying to ''impose Hindi and north Indian culture'' on West Bengal.

The 'insider-outsider' debate in West Bengal gained strength before the assembly election, with the ruling TMC embracing Bengali sub-nationalism as its main poll plank to counter the rise of the BJP's Hindutva narrative, and it branded the saffron party as a ''party of outsiders''.

The TMC has fanned 'Bengali pride' by coming up with poll slogan 'Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chai' (Bengal wants its own daughter), and has created a poll narrative of sub-nationalism to counter BJP's identity politics.

The TMC, led by feisty Banerjee, stormed to power for the third consecutive term riding on that poll plank and bagged 213 seats. In contrast, the BJP, despite its high-pitch poll campaign, managed to win only 77 seats.

Meanwhile, Banerjee expressed fear over the alarming rate of erosion along Ganga's riverbanks in Malda and Murshidabad districts.

She directed Dwivedi to write to the Niti Aayog over the matter and find out an alternative to arrest erosion.

''Erosion along the riverbanks of Ganga is a central subject. We will write to them. It is a big issue. The authorities of Farakka Barrage are not conducting dredging. We are unable to stop erosion. We have to chalk out an alternative plan to deal with this problem,'' she said.

Banerjee said that the Centre has stopped sending funds for flood management and asked the CS to send the state irrigation secretary to Delhi in this connection.

The chief minister cautioned the district administration to not allow people to build concrete structures near erosion-prone areas. Later, at another review meeting in neighbouring Murshidabad district, Banerjee asked the district administration to be alert to prevent the Border Security Force (BSF) from ''venturing into lands outside its jurisdiction and torturing common people including firing upon them''.

''Besides erosion, the main problem in a border district like Murshidabad is torture by BSF personnel. We have to protect West Bengal and see to it that BSF does not open fire on common people. We should not forget that law and order is a state subject,'' she said.

Banerjee said that a hospital exclusively for bidi workers will be built in the district where bidi manufacturing is a big industry.

''The bidi workers are very poor. Let there be a hospital for them," she said, directing the health and labour departments to work out a plan.

She said that the government will provide land to journalists in every district to build housing colonies.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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