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Hillary applauds Mamata for ousting Left

Terming her trip to Kolkata as remarkable, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was all praise for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee saying despite being a women she successfully ended 34-year-old Left rule in the state.

Clinton was on a 3-day visit to India from May 7. This was the first-ever visit by a US secretary of state to Writers' Buildings to hold a meeting with a chief minister.

Both Clinton and Banerjee are listed among the 100 top influential people in world by Time magazine.

In her keynote address after receiving Century Award at the New York Women's Foundation Breakfast, Clinton termed her trip to Kolkata as remarkable.

"I went last week to West Bengal in East India and had two remarkable experiences - meeting the newly elected chief minister, a woman, who on her own started a new political party and built that political party over many years, and just successfully ousted Communist Party that had been in office for 30, 34 years or so, and who is trying now to govern a state with 90 million people in it," Clinton said.

Clinton also referred to a meeting she had with a group of women in Kolkata.

"I met with a group of women - mostly Indian, some American - who, along with some of the men who were running organisations to rescue girls from having been trafficked into prostitution - and I met some of the girls and the young women, and their stories sounded remarkably like the ones we heard this morning.

"And in particular, the very last line of one of our last presenters that change takes time and love makes the difference," she said.

"So when I was introduced to a young girl, probably about 10, who had, with her mother, been rescued from a brothel, who was dressed in her karate outfit and she asked me, 'Do you want to see me do karate'- I said, 'I really do."

Clinton said amidst laughter and applause as she referred to the conversation she had with a young girl at that meeting.

"And she proceeded to perform a karate move. But it wasn't so much the karate as it was the way she stood so straight, looked me in the eye, had a sense of pride and accomplishment about her.

"And that's what we saw on this stage here, so many thousands of miles away," Clinton said narrating the experience she had with the young girl from Bihar.

"The work that the foundation does is part of this remarkable combination of actors and institutions that we sometimes take for granted in New York and in our country.

"Many years ago, I talked about society really being a three-legged stool: You need an accountable, responsible government; you need an effective job-creating, prosperity-increasing private sector; and you need an active, dynamic civil society.

"And the civil society really fills the space that most of us live in every day - family and friendships and faith and volunteerism and all the community efforts that we are celebrating here today," Clinton said.

Clinton said she tries, whenever possible, to find time to meet with women who are trying to do, often under very difficult circumstances.

"Because in places around the world, it's almost unimaginable that there could be this large room of women and men who are supporting a foundation devoted to uplift, empowering, helping, supporting, comforting women and girls as they make their journeys through life," she said. PTI

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