West Bengal is scheduled to go to polls in May 2021.
BJP national general secretary in charge of West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya accused West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee of not taking the novel coronavirus pandemic seriously and playing with the lives of the people of the state.
Talking to timesofindia.com on phone from Indore, his hometown where he is at present due to the ongoing lockdown, Vijayvargiya said, “Mamata Banerjee is playing politics even in the present times of Covid-19. She has the state assembly election in mind and fears that if the Modi government succeeds in containing damage due to the pandemic, BJP will earn credit and her TMC (Trinamool Congress) will lose the election.”
He claimed that people of West Bengal were scared of the prevailing situation in the state due to Mamata government’s “irresponsible” behaviour.
Kailash Vijayvargiya charged Mamata Banerjee with risking the lives of crores of people of the state just because of politics. He condemned the TMC government for, what he called, peddling lies about the work being done in the state to fight coronavirus.
He accused her of fudging figures of the coronavirus patients, misleading people, misappropriating the ration sent by the centre while keeping people of the state hungry and not providing security to the health workers.
The timesofindia.com sought TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien’s reactions to Kailash Vijayvargiya’s chrages. However, he could not be contacted despite several attempts.
Meanwhile, the centre and the West Bengal government have been sparring over issues related to Covid-19 in the eastern state.
In the latest spat, home minister Amit Shah wrote to Mamata Banerjee on May 9 accusing her government of not allowing “shramik (worker)” trains run by the Railways to reach the state. He said it was an injustice for migrant workers from the state.
His letter said, “… we are not getting expected support from West Bengal. The state government is not allowing trains to reach. This is injustice for West Bengal migrant labourers. This will create further hardship for them.”
However, Shah’s accusation was immediately rebutted by Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee. In a tweet, he called the home minister’s charges a “bundle of lies” asking him to prove them or apologise.
A HM failing to discharge his duties during this crisis speaks after weeks of silence, only to mislead people with… https://t.co/MFCCFH09zj
— Abhishek Banerjee (@abhishekaitc) 1589004727000
A day after Shah’s letter to Mamata Banerjee, railways minister Piyush Goyal appealed to all the states to allow special trains for the stranded migrant labourers to enter.
He said, “I appeal to all the states to give permission to evacuate and bring back their stranded migrants so that we can get all of them back to their homes in the next 3-4 days itself. As per the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Railways is fully geared up to run 300 Shramik Special trains everyday at short notice since the last six days.”
Piyush Goyal informed that till May 10, 366 Shramik Special Trains had run across the country
I appeal to all the States to give permission to evacuate and bring back their stranded migrants so that we can get… https://t.co/iW9OmDtdOq
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) 1589108272000
Earlier, the centre and the Mamata Banerjee government had locked horns over the visit of inter-ministerial central teams (IMCTs) to West Bengal to assess the situation in Kolkata and Jalpaiguri last month. Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote a letter to West Bengal chief secretary Rajiva Sinha stating that the central teams were restrained from paying visits, interacting with the health professionals and assessing the ground situation.
Later, however, the West Bengal government conveyed to the Union government that it was cooperating with the central teams.
West Bengal chief secretary Rajiva Sinha wrote back to the Union home secretary to convey his assurances for implementation of central government order and Disaster Management Act as well as the directions of the Supreme Court.
Mamata Banerjee has been blowing hot and cold over the Modi government over a number of issues such as demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the likes. However, the fight over relief to coronavirus patients is the latest in the series of tussles between the two governments.