Kolkata: Poll strategist Prashant Kishor and his team will be present at the TMC’s mega Martyrs’ Day rally here on Sunday to understand the mindset of the people of West Bengal before the 2021 state Assembly election, sources in the party said on Saturday. A formal invitation for the rally had been sent to Kishor, a senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader told PTI. Kishor’s men from his Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC) would mingle among the crowd on Sunday to understand the public mood before they came up with a “political dawai (strategy)” for the 2021 polls, he said. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers “He (Kishor) and his team members will be trying to read the minds of the people and the party workers at Sunday’s rally. They will also try to understand which sections of the people participate in the rally and what are they looking for from TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. Basically, they will try to understand the mood of the people,” he added. The IPAC men have also gone through video clippings of the Martyrs’ Day rallies held in the last couple of years. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja “After looking at the video footage of the rallies of the last couple of years, Kishor and his men are trying to evaluate the enthusiasm among people this year. They have also gone through the documents related to Martyrs’ Day,” the TMC leader said. Kishor’s men were also visiting the places where TMC workers from far-off districts had put up to understand their pulse, he added. “They are trying to progress with calculation and these measures are part of their process to come up with a strategy to help our party get the desired success in the 2021 Assembly polls,” he said. After the Lok Sabha polls, in which the BJP made major inroads in West Bengal winning 18 of the 42 seats, the TMC roped in Kishor last month. Banerjee had claimed that the poll strategist would be helping her party as corporate social responsibility. Since then, Kishor has held three meetings with Banerjee, who is also the West Bengal chief minister, in which he has chalked out strategies for TMC ministers, leaders and workers. The poll strategist was also present at a recently-held meeting with the party’s district presidents. TMC sources said Kishor was giving tips to its district unit chiefs regarding the changes required in the strategies to help the party bounce back after the Lok Sabha polls. “During his meetings with partymen, Kishor gave vocal tonic to them asking them not to lose confidence only because the BJP has done well in the Lok Sabha election. His advice was that they should consider the 2021 Assembly polls as their first election battle and start with new enthusiasm,” the TMC leader said. Banerjee will highlight “save democracy” and demand bringing back ballot papers to replace electronic voting machines (EVMs) in conducting elections at Sunday’s rally. The rally is organised by the TMC every year on July 21 in the memory of 13 Youth Congress activists killed in police firing in 1993 during the Left Front regime in West Bengal. Banerjee was a leader of the Youth Congress at that time. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) tally of 18 seats in the Lok Sabha polls held in April-May — up from just two it had won in the state in 2014 — was only four less than the TMC’s 22. The Banerjee-led party had won 34 parliamentary seats in the 2014 polls.
While a ban on the export of raw materials originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would be counterproductive, punitive measures are still needed to curb the illegal exploitation of the country’s natural resources by criminal organizations and persons, according to a report by a group of United Nations experts released today.”Massive technical and financial assistance for the population would be required to offset the humanitarian impact of such restrictive measures,” an expert panel appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to investigate the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth of the DRC says in its report. Nevertheless, steps need to be taken against companies or individuals or the country risks encouraging a continuation, or even an increase, of exploitative and illegal activities.The report recommends that financial restrictions be placed on 29 companies based in Belgium, Rwanda, Uganda, DRC, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and a travel ban and financial restrictions imposed on 54 persons, including Augustin Katumba Mwanke, Minister of Presidency in the DRC, Kibassa Maliba, a former Minister of Mines, and Mwana Nanga Mawapanga, a DRC Ambassador in Harare.The list also includes the Speaker of Parliament in Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa Dambudzo, the DRC’s Minister of National Security, Dan Munyuza, and Dennis Numbi Kalume, the Minister of Planning and Reconstruction in the DRC.Noting that those involved in the illegal exploitation of natural resources did not have a strong incentive to alter the economic status quo, the report calls for “measures that address their fears of losing revenues.” Such measures could only be effective if they took place simultaneously with a political process and should monitored by a UN body that would report any violations to the Security Council.The report also calls for quick disbursement of aid to the DRC and other countries in the Great Lakes region involved in the conflict for reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes aimed at creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure and improving conditions for local populations.A “fast-track programme” should be set up to retrain members of the countries’ security apparatus and regulatory bodies, such as the customs, immigration and revenue collection agencies, as well as a strengthening of institutions to end the impunity enjoyed by high-ranking officials and various levels of civil servants.The panel further proposes that measures be aimed at tying aid disbursements to Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe to their compliance with the Lusaka peace accord and verifiable measures they have taken to halt the illegal exploitation of resources from the DRC. Recommending that non-compliance automatically trigger a reduction in assistance, the report says such cuts should apply to “institutional budget support, stabilization lending or project lending and not sector-specific allocations.”