West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday described Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to a tribal household for lunch as a “show off” and claimed that the food items served to the BJP leader were cooked at five-star hotels.
Addressing a gathering at Khatra in West Bengal’s Bankura district, the TMC supremo also hit out at Shah for apparently mistaking a statue of a tribal hunter for that of freedom fighter Birsa Munda.
She went on to target the Centre over the farm laws and the NRC issue.
“A few days ago, our honourable home minister had come (here), which was a show off. Food items like basmati rice, postor bora (poppy seed fritters) cooked in five-star hotels were taken to the Dalit household. One Brahmin was also brought in,” the Chief Minister said.
Shah, during his visit to Bengal earlier in the month, visited a tribal household in Bankura, and a Matua home in Kolkata. The family members were shown chopping vegetables prior to the lunch, but none of the ingredients were actually used to prepare the meal, the Chief Minister said.
“I have seen in newspapers that Basmati rice and postor bora were served… the coriander leaves which the family members were shown chopping were not used in any of the items. People these days can see through such things,” Banerjee said.
Describing her visit to a ST-dominated village Monday, she said, “There, I met everybody, sat there on a khatia unlike the few central ministers who went there to meet some with cooked food. My visit was not planned. I sat there on khatia and spoke to everybody and enquired about their requirements.”
On the Home Minister apparently garlanding a statue of a tribal hunter under the impression that it was that of Birsa Munda, Banerjee said “such actions would not be tolerated”.
She also referred to the vandalism of a bust of Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar during a rally of Shah in Kolkata last year, and said it was an “insult”.
“He garlanded a statue which was not that of Birsa Munda. Later I heard people saying that it was the statue of a hunter. You cannot go on insulting us like this,” she said, and announced that Birsa Munda’s birth anniversary will be a state holiday next year onwards.
Claiming that the spike in prices of potato and onion is a result of the Centre’s farm laws, she said, “There is nothing in the hands of state governments. They are controlling everything.”
“We have taken good care of our people, announced free ration till June,” Banerjee said, adding, “Amit Shah is giving false assurances. People have understood this.”
Claiming that the TMC will return to power in the upcoming Assembly polls, she said, “Our government will remain in Bengal and we will further increase the period of free ration.”
She also said that if the BJP comes to power, “they will ask for documents”.
Banerjee announced several welfare measures for the tribal community during her visit.
She also announced the ‘Duare Duare Sarkar’ scheme — meaning government at every doorstep — in which camps will be set up in each block from December 1 to January 31 to take government services to the people.
She initiated and launched projects worth Rs 353 crore.
She also launched Karmai Dharma scheme under which as many as 2 lakh youths will be provided bikes with a bike each from cooperative banks.
“We have planned to provide bikes to at least two lakh youth from cooperative banks. These bikes will have boxes at the back using which the youths will be able to sell clothes or any other materials. This initiative will help them run their family,” she said.
Responding to Banerjee’s remarks, BJP national secretary Anupam Hazra said, “The TMC has a habit of playing politics on every issue. The food our party leader Amit Shah ji ate was cooked at that very house.”
Referring to the controversy over garlanding of a statue, Hazra said, “She is claiming that it was not the statue of Birsa Munda. I would request her to produce a picture of the tribal leader to prove her point.”
BJP leader Sayantan Basu said, “She will not understand Amitji’s work because she used to eat biryani during her fast at the time of the Singur movement.”
— With PTI inputs
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