Updated May 20th, 2024 at 08:35 IST

Exclusive/ Industry Vs Empty Promises: Locket Chatterjee Sounds Poll Bugle Of Development

“Singur will unseat TMC in 2026" - BJP’s MP candidate Locket Chatterjee banks on fuming locals for Lok Sabha success

Reported by: Sayan Ganguly
BJP MP candidate from Hooghly Locket Chatterjee and her TMC challenger Rachana Banerjee | Image:instagram/republic
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Kolkata: Boosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's last-minute campaigning in Hooghly, BJP's sitting MP Locket Chatterjee is quite confident of repeating her 2019 feat from her constituency. Adding fuel to the industry versus agriculture debate, Chatterjee told Republic that Hooghly's Singur, which helped Mamata win against the Left, will eventually unseat TMC in 2026 as people there are still fuming from the closure of the Tata Nano plant. "After 12 years of blank promises from the TMC government, farmers have been unable to cultivate on the land that was returned to them despite several assistance and efforts," said Chatterjee, adding that the people there want industries.

Her challenger is Rachana Banerjee, a household name in the Bengal TV industry. Rachana landed in a soup when she said that she saw a lot of factory chimneys emitting smoke en route to Singur while replying to the BJP's 'lack of industries' jibe.

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In a no-holds-barred conversation with Republic, Locket Chatterjee claimed that the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is the next biggest scam in West Bengal after the teachers' recruitment case and called for a CBI probe.

Here are edited excerpt from the interview:

What is the mood like in Hooghly?

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I have got positive feedback wherever I have been to in my constituency. I will win with a bigger margin this time around.

Your car was attacked in Hooghly allegedly by TMC workers a few months back. Following that, TMC MLA Asit Mazumdar passed sexist and derogatory remarks against you and now, Sandeshkhali. How safe do you feel as a woman MP and a BJP candidate in Mamata Banerjee's West Bengal?

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See, I am already accustomed to their pushing and shoving, pulling me out and smashing the car. It is definitely not safe for me over here. However, as a people's representative, I am more concerned about others.

On Sandeshkhali and its impact on her constituency: What we want are the women to take inspiration from Sandeshkhali and raise their voices against similar forces over here. There are many such cases over here. Many 'Sheikh Shahjahans' are lurking in the shadows to prey on women. No one can speak out in fear. We want them to come forward and raise their voice.

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What all challenges did you face as an MP over here as it was not easy-going for you?

In the last 5 years, they tried to stop the MPLADS fund I received from the Centre. Even after so many obstructions, I managed to utilise 100% of the funds for public work.

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PMAY Is The Next Biggest Scam In Bengal: Locket Chatterjee Calls For CBI Probe


The implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) in Bengal is a big scam. This scam has not yet been unearthed. There is an urgent need for a CBI investigation. I am basing my statement on several pieces of evidence I have collected from the government.

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Let me give you a real life example. There was a name registered with the Block Development Office (BDO) and that person got the house under the scheme as per protocol. The report was then sent to the state government and further handed over to the Centre. In the final report sent to the Prime Minister, it is mentioned that the beneficiary has got the house. Now, I tracked the beneficiary, who was a lady. Even the local media reached there. On asking if she actually got the house, she said that she has not received any funds for the house to everyone's shock. On further investigation, we found that her name was on the list but her bank account number was different. It was found out that the account number actually belonged to a panchayat pradhan. That person has received the entire PMAY fund that actually belonged to the lady. On paper, she has received the fund and her house has been completed. In reality, the picture is completely different. Such examples are spread across my constituency and the state. After the SSE scam, the biggest scam arising out of Bengal is PMAY Yojana.

Teachers' recruitment scam is a big issue. Already few prominent names from the TMC party are behind the bars. Who all have got the jobs? TMC MLA Ashima's Patra's family and several others who are either TMC functionaries or related to them. It's a big scam.

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Singur, which helped Mamata defeat the Left and come to power, is a part of your constituency. What is the situation over there?

Singur has made Mamata Chief Minister. Following her ascent to power, she has ruined the livelihoods of the farmers over there. She has destroyed Singur's industry and the aspirations of many youth. This Singur, that helped Mamata win, will unseat TMC in 2026.

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After the Tata plant was completed, 90 per cent of it was razed to the ground by the bulldozers. After that, Mamata is coming and saying that the land will be utilised for agriculture. Can agriculture be done on industrial land? Never. After 12 years of blank promises, farmers, who got their land back, have been unable to cultivate despite several assistance and efforts.

After land activist Tapasi Malik was brutally murdered and raped in Singur during the CPM era, there was a statue, which was installed, when TMC came to power. If you visit her memorial site, you can't even spot the statue as there is no maintenance and her statue is covered with moss. The symbolism is lost. We want Tata to be back here. We want industrialisation in Singur. And, the ones who committed mistake after listening to Mamata --- they want industries back.

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Published May 20th, 2024 at 08:35 IST