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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

State rivalries play out in Lok Sabha, raise heat of Covid-hit session

A heated exchange broke out between members of the Trinamool Congress and the BJP when Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee alleged that under the Trinamool Congress government, West Bengal was turning out to be “like old Kashmir”.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: September 17, 2020 7:29:31 am
parliament, parliament monsoon session, Covid discussion in Lok Sabha, Parliament Coronavirus talks, india news, Indian expressThe Rajampet MP’s allegation that there was a huge scam in the construction of the new state capital at Amaravati by the erstwhile TDP government drew protests from TDP MPs.(PTI)

Amid screens and distancing measures in view of the pandemic, rivalry between political parties in the states played out in the chamber of Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

A heated exchange broke out between members of the Trinamool Congress and the BJP when Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee alleged that under the Trinamool Congress government, West Bengal was turning out to be “like old Kashmir”.

Chatterjee alleged that BJP workers were being targeted by the state government and “goons” of the ruling party.

“It is really a matter of sadness that the state of West Bengal is in danger and it is turning out to be like the old Kashmir,” she said, alleging that a “particular community” in Hooghly refused to go through testing for Covid-19 and this triggered a communal riot. “The riots went on for three days with bombing, looting and violence and even a temple was damaged,” Chatterjee said, adding that BJP leaders tried to visit the area but the administration did not allow them.

Read | Rajya Sabha: Oppn tears into govt over Covid management; BJP says stop politics

Taking a swipe at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her MP nephew Abhishek Banerjee, she said, “The aunt-nephew duo will milk the cow while the common people of West Bengal get kicked and suffer. There is not an iota of democracy in the state,” she said, as Mahua Moitra and other Trinamool Congress MPs engaged in a war of words with BJP members.

TDP MPs launched a protest when YSRCP’s Midhun Reddy sought a CBI investigation into the Amaravati land scam and accused the previous TDP government in Andhra Pradesh of corruption.

The Rajampet MP’s allegation that there was a huge scam in the construction of the new state capital at Amaravati by the erstwhile TDP government drew protests from TDP MPs.

“Almost 4,000 acres of land are part of this scam. The land, which was bought for a few lakhs of rupees, is now worth crores of rupees. The then Chief Minister had officially announced a different place called Tiruvuru to be the state capital but later he declared another place, where they had bought the land, to be the state capital. It is a breach of oath. It is a huge scam,” Reddy said, seeking a CBI probe into the matter.

Tejasvi Surya, BJP MP from Bangalore South, targeted the LDF government in Kerala, accusing it of indulging in scams during flood relief and collection of Covid patients’ data.

“The Communist governments in Kerala have used every public tragedy as an opportunity for personal enrichment… The Communists in Kerala government seem to be masters of nepotism. Like their ideological compatriot Kim Jong-un of North Korea who appointed his sister and close relatives to important roles in government, Kerala’s Communist Ministers have come under severe criticism by Kerala High Court for appointing their close relatives as heads of PSUs and government bodies,” Surya alleged.

“The fact that the gold smuggling scam has close links with the Chief Minister of Kerala and that there are attempts to obstruct impartial investigation that is being undertaken is something of public knowledge,” he added.

Left MPs raised objections when Surya said Kerala has “surpassed crimes of every Communist regime from Colombia to Venezuela, Cuba to North Korea” in four years of governing the state. “The great land of Lord Ayyappa, Adi Shankara and Sree Narayana Guru cannot be let to suffer at the hands of Communist despots. I want to assure all the people agitating for democracy in Kerala that we are all with them,” he said, amid protest by Left MPs.

When Congress MP A Revanth Reddy sought a CBI probe into the fire at Srisailam hydroelectric plant, TRS’s Nama Nageswara Rao stood up in protest and sought Speaker Om Birla’s intervention, saying, “How can you ask for a CBI probe into an accident? This should not be allowed.”

Reddy alleged that the state government had not allocated money for the proper maintenance of the plant which led to the incident that claimed the lives of nine people, including five engineers.

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