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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Centre’s 100-crore Covid jabs milestone a ‘jumla’: Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee made the comment in north Bengal in her first visit to the region since her party’s emphatic victory in the state Assembly elections earlier this year.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: October 25, 2021 5:09:17 am
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a rally in Siliguri on Sunday. This is her first north Bengal visit since the state polls. (CMO)

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday lashed out at the Narendra Modi-led central government for celebrating the 100-crore vaccination milestone, and termed the achievement “jumla [fake]”. Banerjee made the comment in north Bengal in her first visit to the region since her party’s emphatic victory in the state Assembly elections earlier this year.

“If you take into consideration the 18-year-olds, the total population of the country will be around 130-150 crore. On the other hand, vaccination of children is yet to start. So, as a result, only 29.51 crore people have got two doses of Covid-19 vaccines. I don’t know how they came at the 100-crore mark. This is nothing but jumla. I have to tell the truth as it is important that someone tells the truth,” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson said at a post-Durga Puja get-together in Siliguri.

Banerjee is visiting north Bengal to take stock of the situation after the monsoon, and chair administrative review meetings for several districts.

“We have vaccinated seven crore people with at least one dose. Despite not getting adequate vaccine supply from the Centre, we will soon be able to reach 100 per cent vaccination. We will procure vaccines on our own from vaccine makers. Right now, we are in the third place across the country in vaccination despite receiving inadequate vaccines compared to UP, Maharashtra, and Gujarat,” said Banerjee. She also again appealed to Prime Minister Modi to ensure that the World Health Organisation (WHO) approves the Covaxin vaccine.

Shifting her focus to Tripura, the TMC chief laid into the state’s BJP-led government for not allowing her party workers to organise rallies, and accused it of disrespecting TMC MP Susmita Dev whose convoy allegedly came under an attack on Friday.

“Here, Durga Puja was held peacefully and without any untoward incident in comparison to what is happening in Tripura. There whoever dares to hold rallies is hit with sticks. They don’t even allow injured TMC workers to be treated at a hospital. A young party worker was thrashed and he had to be rushed to the SSKM Hospital in Kolkata. Even our female party MP was attacked. This is the state of affairs in Tripura. But BJP leaders mislead people about violence in Bengal. I want to ask them then what is happening in Tripura?”

She added, “Every day, the BJP engages in false propaganda. But we will not allow them to spread hatred. We will protect the culture and heritage of Bengal. This is a place of communal harmony. Here we treat everyone equally.”

The chief minister said her government would not allow anyone to divide the state, and criticised the Centre for recently amending the Border Security Force (BSF) Act and empowering the paramilitary force to conduct searches, carry out seizure operations, and arrest anyone within a 50 km stretch, up from the existing 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal, and Assam.

“We have nothing against the BSF but what is the motive behind such a decision by the Centre. We have good relations with Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and others. We won’t allow any attempt to instigate riots by any forces in the border areas of West Bengal,” she added.

The Trinamool Congress chairperson also criticised the rising prices of fuels in India. “Price of diesel has crossed the Rs 100-mark. LPG
cylinders have crossed the Rs 900-mark. The middle class and poor are forced to shift to ‘chullah’ as a result of this,” she added.

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