West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday called Narendra Modi a “shameless prime minister” and alleged that the Centre failed to meet the Covid-19 vaccine requirements of the state, reported The Indian Express.
“We have already vaccinated 2.26 crore people,” Banerjee said at the state Assembly during the ongoing Budget session. “And for that, we had to buy at least 26 lakh doses on our own, despite promises by the Centre that it would provide the required number of doses. Notwithstanding the Centre’s ham-handed policies, we have been able to contain the virus.”
She added: “Our shameless PM has failed the country but his picture is found everywhere – from vaccine certificates to hoardings. I have seen many prime ministers, but none so shameless.”
The chief minister said the state has started making preparations for the possible third wave of the pandemic, reported PTI.
Banerjee also criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs for not allowing Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to finish his speech during the inaugural day of the Budget session in the Assembly on July 2. Dhankhar had to cut short his 18-page speech after reading a few lines as the MLAs protested against the post-poll violence in the state.
“I have seen BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh to Sushma Swaraj... This BJP, however, is different,” she said. “They [BJP members] do not know culture, courtesy, decency and civility.”
On the post-poll violence, the chief minister claimed that TMC workers had faced attacks when the state was under the Election Commission’s supervision during the Assembly elections. “The EC shifted district magistrates, police superintendents and others at the whims of its observers, who were from their own party [BJP],” she alleged. “For three months, they [Election Commission] issued threats... But the people of Bengal showed you cannot threaten a state in this manner.”
Banerjee maintained that stray incidents of violence were reported after the election results and that her government took action in all such cases. “During and immediately after the elections, the BJP circulated fake videos to spread hatred,” she alleged. “We have photos, we have evidence. I will place these on your [Speaker’s] table.”
West Bengal had witnessed a spell of violent incidents following Assembly election results on May 2. The BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress blamed each other for the deaths of multiple party workers. Various news reports put the toll between 11 and 14, but the police did not confirm the numbers.
In the Assembly, Banerjee also accused the Election Commission of helping the BJP, claiming that without it, the saffron party would not have got more than 30 seats.
Hitting out at the Uttar Pradesh government, Banerjee said that bodies have been found floating in rivers. “Some bodies floated downstream and reached our state,” she said. “Do they even know how many died in UP [due to the pandemic]? Don’t they feel ashamed?”
The chief minister also spoke about her government’s achievements in the state. “Bengal occupies the number one spot when it comes to generating employment under the 100 days’ work scheme,” she said. “We are also ahead of all in developing rural roads in the country. We have set up 186 kisan mandis, 24 medical colleges.”
On the development initiatives in north Bengal, Banerjee said: “From universities to medical colleges, from river bridges to academies for Rajbangshis, Kamtapuris and other linguistic communities, we have done it all.”
Before Mamata Banerjee began her address, BJP MLAs walked out of the Assembly after Speaker Biman Banerjee told Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari to refrain from commenting on Nandigram election results as the matter was sub-judice.
The chief minister had contested against Adhikari for the Nandigram seat and lost. She had levelled allegations of fraud in the counting of votes and demanded a recount. But her request was turned down by the Election Commission. Banerjee had then moved the Calcutta High Court.