West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government for the ongoing coronavirus crisis in India, reported PTI.
“To set up a double-engine government in Bengal, they have pushed India to the brink of destruction,” she said in the state Assembly. “Last six months, the central government did no work and they [BJP leaders] were all here daily to capture Bengal.”
The Narendra Modi government has faced severe criticism for conducting Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry even as the second wave of Covid-19 was raging in India. The second wave has left hospitals overwhelmed and medical workers exhausted. Social media is full of desperate people seeking medical oxygen, hospital beds and other necessities.
Banerjee also claimed that central forces personnel were in the state during the elections without undergoing RT- PCR tests and that resulted in the spread of the infection.
She reiterated her demand for universal vaccination, saying that doing so should have been the Centre’s priority instead of spending Rs 50,000 crore on a new Parliament building, PM’s residence and statues, among others.
The West Bengal government has moved the Supreme Court seeking a uniform vaccination policy. In the petition, the state government has said that the Centre should place a bulk order for the vaccine shots to both domestic and foreign manufacturers to ensure universal vaccination coverage.
The chief minister also accused the Election Commission of helping the saffron party in the state Assembly polls. “I can challenge that had the Election Commission not helped them directly, they [the BJP] could not have won even 30 seats,” she alleged. “In this election, rigging took place in some places under the watch of the poll panel.”
Banerjee called for reforms in the Election Commission, reported ANI. “Bengal has a spine and it never bows,” the TMC chief said. “There was a conspiracy, all central ministers landed here. I don’t know how many crores they spent on planes and hotels. Money was flowing like water here.”
She further alleged that the BJP could not accept the mandate in the polls and were trying to incite violence by posting fake videos. The Trinamool Congress led by Banerjee secured a landslide victory in the Assembly election, winning 213 constituencies in the 294-seat Assembly. The BJP won 77 seats.
Following the results, reports of violence emerged from the state. While the Opposition parties have accused the Trinamool Congress of violence, the Banerjee-led party has claimed that its supports have also died. Sixteen people, both from the TMC and the BJP, have died so far during the post-election violence in the state as of Thursday, according to the chief minister.
In the Assembly on Saturday, Banerjee also directed the administration to take action against those trying to provoke violence and communal tension.
She asked why the Union home ministry sent a central team to inquire about reports of violence within 24 hours of her taking oath as the chief minister of the state. “Why is there so much discrimination with Bengal,” she asked.
Banerjee also credited the women in the state for her party’s victory in the polls. “TMC has been elected back in power in a landslide mandate,” she said. “It is a miracle and historic. This was because of the people of Bengal and the women in Bengal.”
Meanwhile, TMC MLA Biman Banerjee was elected Assembly Speaker for the third time. The BJP leaders boycotted the proceedings of the House.