A day after Amit Shah’s scathing attack on the West Bengal government, which he accused of blocking Central government schemes and stymying the state’s development, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the Union Home Minister of lying while criticising the state’s level of development.
She described the minister’s figures on Bengal’s various development parameters as “garbage of lies”. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader labelled the BJP a “cheatingbaaz party” and claimed that “for politics, they can do anything”.
On Sunday, the Home Minister had said Banerjee’s time was up in Bengal, “which has witnessed infiltration and corruption under the TMC rule”. At a press conference in Birbhum, Shah said Bengal was once among the better-performing states, but now it was doing poorly on almost every indicator, be it GDP or per capita income.
“He [Amit Shah] claimed our state is ‘zero’ in industry, but we are number one in the MSME sector. He claimed we couldn’t build rural roads but we are number one in that. This is Government of India’s information,” Banerjee said.
Responding to the allegation that she was blocking Central schemes, the chief minister said she had written another letter to Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar about the implementation of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme.
She has agreed to implement the PM-Kisan and Ayushman Bharat schemes only if the Central funds are routed through the state government.
“You may kindly recall my letter dated September 9, 2020, regarding the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme launched by the central government. The decision of the central government on implementation of the scheme in West Bengal and transferring the requisite fund to the state government for onward distribution to the farmers through the state government machinery is still awaited,” read the letter.
She added, “The state government is already implementing a scheme of direct fund transfer to the farmers, including the sharecroppers with death benefit scheme, as had been enumerated in my letter under reference. More than 73 lakh farmers are to be benefited under this scheme. I once again request you to kindly arrange to transfer the requisite fund to the State government, for onward disbursement with full responsibility to the farmer-beneficiaries of the state through state government machinery.”
The chief minister said after the funds under disbursed, a list of beneficiaries would be sent to the Centre for its record. “I do hope that a decision in the matter will be taken very quickly and communicated to us,” added Banerjee.
Taking umbrage at Amit Shah’s remark that the government would think about implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act after a vaccine is found and people are inoculated, Banerjee reiterated the TMC’s opposition to the amended citizenship law.
“We have recognised all the refugee colonies. All my Bengal people are recognised people. They [BJP] cannot decide the fate of the citizens. Let them decide their own fate. We are against this, we are against NPR and we are against NRC. Nothing has been withdrawn right now. So, it very much exists. We will fight the battle and not allow anyone to go out of the country,” said the TMC chief.
She also targeted the Opposition party over an alleged insult to Rabindranath Tagore. Ahead of Shah’s weekend visit to Bolpur, hoardings appeared in which the minister’s photograph was given more prominence than the Nobel laureate.