Media, opposition conspiring to malign my government: Mamata

Kolkata, June 21 (IANS) Facing a severe public backlash over recent incidents of crime against women, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday accused the opposition of conspiring with the media to malign her government.

The Trinamool Congress supremo, campaigning for the upcoming panchayat polls, said at a party rally in in Burdwan district's Ondal that the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have colluded with a section of media to mislead the people.

"Trinamool Congress has not committed rapes nor has police done so to unleash political terror. The media has joined hands with them and maligning our government which has been doing good work," said Banerjee as she named the media houses and channels that have been "conspiring" against her.

With a large section of the intelligentsia and the civil society Friday hitting the streets in protest against the rising crime graph, Banerjee criticised those who have been questioning the "political "change" that was ushered by the Trinamool.

"Only a few people had joined us towards the very end of our movement and participated in one or two rallies. Whereas about 55,000 Trinamool Congress workers were killed and we had to struggle for 34 years," she said.

Her remarks were directed at sections of the civil society who had campaigned for a political change in the state during the previous Left Front government but have recently been criticising her for failing to prevent crimes against women.

Though she admitted that a few incidents of rape have occurred in the state, Banerjee dubbed as a "complete lie", the latest report by the National Crime Records Bureau putting Bengal atop the country in crimes against women.

"They are saying that we are atop the country when it comes to atrocities committed against women. They are liars and are trying to belittle the pride of the mothers and sisters of the state. Do not believe them," she said.

Later speaking at another party rally in Purulia district's Manbazar, Banerjee reiterated her claim of the Marxists conniving with the Maoists to eliminate her to revive left-wing extremism in Junglemahal - the rebel affected areas of the state.

"Our greatest achievement has been bringing back smiles on the faces of people of Junglemahal - which a few years back was synonymous to terror and bloodshed.

"But the CPI-M has been conspiring with the Maoists to kill me and bring back the reign of terror in Junglemahal. I dare them to kill me in public in front of you all instead of conniving in the background," added Banerjee.