Claiming that West Bengal has created more than one crore jobs and stood first when it came to poverty eradication and MGNREGA implementation, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday criticised Home Minister Amit Shah for “deliberately trying to project a dismal and gloomy picture” during his two-day visit and said he can either “prove me wrong or treat me with dhokla”.
Addressing a press conference in Nabanna, Banerjee said, “Home Minister (Amit Shah) said a lot of things but I think when Prime Minister, Home Minister say something they must have cross-checked facts. He painted a very sorry picture about Bengal. But where was he 10 years back when we took over.”
Claiming that tax collection has increased by 2.9 per cent over the last 10 years in the state, she said, “According to the Government of India’s records, Bengal is number one in the eradication of poverty in India. Bengal is number one in 100 days work, rural housing, rural roads, MSME sector, e-tendering and e-governance. GSDP of Bengal has increased 2.6 times.”
Banerjee cited NCRB data to say that political killings and other crimes have decreased in the last 10 years under the TMC rule. “Amit Shah owes me a treat. I love dhokla and other Gujarati food,” she said, challenging the Home Minister to “prove me wrong or treat me with dhokla”.
The Chief Minister also claimed that Kolkata has twice been recognised as the “safest city” in the country. “BJP leaders, while pointing fingers at others, should also speak up against the Hathras rape-murder incident in Uttar Pradesh,” she said. “They speak so much about law and order. Even suicides are being termed as political killings.”
Listing out the TMC government’s other achievements over the past decade, Banerjee said that 383 ex-Maoists have surrendered, 370 KLO activists have been rehabilitated, and hills and Jangalmahal have become peaceful.
Banerjee said the state celebrated festivals peacefully, institutional delivery is at 98 per cent and school dropout rates have come down.
At a rally in Bengal, where several rebels from the TMC joined the BJP, Shah had hit out at the West Bengal government for what he called lawlessness and stunted progress under “Didi’s watch”. He said Bengal’s growth had plunged and its industrial production had dropped from 30 per cent of India’s share in 1947 to just 3.5 per cent.
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