The Trinamool Congress's defeat at West Bengal's Singur in the Lok Sabha elections last month is "a shame" for the party, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is reported to have said at an internal meeting in Kolkata on Friday. "It is our fault that we lost Singur," she added.
The loss of Singur is a double blow because it was her agitation there against using farmland for factory that catapulted Ms Banerjee to the chief minister's chair. The Left had sanctioned a Tata car factory at Singur but the project was spiked by Mamata Banerjee over the issue of using agricultural land for industry.
Singur is part of the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat which BJP's Locket Chatterjee won.
Friday's meeting was the first of many Ms Banerjee has planned in districts where Trinamool suffered setbacks. The focus in this one was the Hooghly district which has three parliamentary seats. Trinamool won Arambagh by a narrow margin, Sreerampore respectably but lost Hooghly.
The Trinamool chief said the BJP had used money and manipulated the Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs for the victory. But the dozen Lok Sabha seats lost by Trinamool were also because of party workers failing to keep in touch with the people and taking "cut money" or illegal commissions for services provided free by the state government.
She said people should write to her directly about such complaints. "Cut money" refers to a percentage charged by the ruling party workers to deliver government services like 100 days of employment or housing or other services.
Ms Banerjee will personally visit the districts starting June 21 with the Chandrakona subdivision in the West Midnapore district to launch the 'Janasanjog Yatra' or a 'Connect With People Campaign'. It is at Chandrakona that Ms Banerjee was greeted with 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans during the election campaign.
The yatras, which are part of the preparations for Trinamool's annual Martyr's Day rally on July 21, will also be held in north Bengal, Jangalmahal and Sunderbans.
The BJP had scored a stunning 18 out of 42 seats in the Lok Sabha elections this time in West Bengal. It had won just two in 2014. The Trinamool, which dominates the state assembly, won 22 - huge 16 less than last time.
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