KOLKATA: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of hoodwinking the state's farmers by not providing their details despite announcing that her government was ready to allow Centre’s scheme for ryots.
While addressing a virtual rally in Howrah, Shah alleged that Mamata duped the farmers on two occasions -- first by not allowing PM Kishan Nidhi in Bengal for the past two years and now by not providing details of the farmers who are keen on availing the scheme.
"After depriving farmers for the past two years, Mamatadidi said she would allow the PM Kishan Nidhi scheme in Bengal. When the Centre asked her to send the details of the farmers, she did not respond. Do you think that people of Bengal do not understand your tricks? You are trying to hoodwink the poor farmers of your state by not sharing their details with the Centre," said Shah in his speech welcoming newly inducted Trinamool Congress’ turncoats.
The Union Minister had to cancel his two-day Bengal visit following a blast near the Israel Embassy in Delhi.
Earlier in January, Mamata had said that the Centre claimed around 21.7 lakh farmers from Bengal registered themselves on a portal to avail the benefits of the central scheme. "They (the Centre) have sought verification of this data. I understood the Centre is trying to politicise the matter. We realised the farmers should not suffer because of this. I have asked the Centre to pass on the data so that we can start the verification process," she had said.
A face-off between the central government and Mamata Banerjee ensued on the central scheme issue as the Bengal government wanted the Centre to transfer the fund to the state’s account and disburse it among the farmers by using the state’s machinery. But the Centre wanted to transfer the money directly to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts.
Refuting Shah’s allegation, TMC minister and spokesperson Chandrima Bhattacharya said the Centre did not send the farmers’ list despite the chief minister’s request.
Hitting out at the Bengal CM for barring Centre’s Ayshman Bharat health insurance scheme, Shah assured that after wresting power in Bengal the scheme would be introduced in the state. "Today I am promising that after coming to power in Bengal, the Ayushman Bharat scheme will be allowed in Bengal in the first cabinet meeting," he said.
The Union Home minister lashed out at Mamata for violence in Bengal and allowing infiltrators to settle down.
As Shah cancelled his Bengal visit, textile minister Smriti Irani was present in the Howrah rally where other than the TMC lawmakers, 25 ruling party functionaries of Zilla Parishad, municipalities and gram panchayats joined the BJP. Smriti, in her speech, castigated Mamata for not allowing migrant workers to enter Bengal during the lockdown and misusing the Centre’s financial assistance to the state government as a relief for cyclone Amphan victims.