NEW DELHI: The war of words between the Centre and the West Bengal government scaled a new level on Saturday with Union Home Minister Amit Shah criticising Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the "injustice" to migrant workers by not allowing special trains carrying them arrive at the state.
This was Shah’s first sharp exchange with Mamata on the way the state is dealing with the pandemic. Till now, barbs were being exchanged mainly at the bureaucratic level.
In his letter to Mamata seeking the state’s cooperation, Shah pointed to the Shramik Special trains transporting migrant workers to various destinations, adding labourers from Bengal, too, were eager to return home.
"But we are not getting expected support from the West Bengal. The state government of West Bengal is not allowing the trains reaching to West Bengal. This is injustice with West Bengal migrant labourers. This will create further hardship for them," Shah complained.
A HM failing to discharge his duties during this crisis speaks after weeks of silence, only to mislead people with bundle of lies! Ironically he’s talking about the very ppl who’ve been literally left to fate by his own Govt. Mr @AmitShah, prove your fake allegations or apologise https://t.co/HeWYWFafZ5— Abhishek Banerjee (@abhishekaitc) May 9, 2020
But Mamata’s nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee tweeted: "A HM failing to discharge his duties during this crisis speaks after weeks of silence, only to mislead people with bundle of lies! Ironically he’s talking abou the very ppl whove been literally left to fate by his own Govt. Mr@AmitShah, prove your fake allegations or apologise (sic)."
Earlier this week on May 6, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to state chief secretary Rajiv Sinha highlighting poor containment measures by the state.
'Got clearance from West Bengal for running 8 special trains'
The Indian Railways said it had received "clearance" from West Bengal for running eight special trains to the state. A senior railway official said three trains from Karnataka, two each from Punjab and Tamil Nadu, and one from Telangana will take stranded people to West Bengal over the next few days. However, no ‘Shramik Special’ train departed for West Bengal on Saturday