KOLKATA: On the first day of the Assembly session after the new government was sworn in, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday lashed out at the Centre over “stepmotherly treatment” and slammed the Election Commission for helping the BJP in the elections.
Addressing the House, Mamata said had the Election Commission not helped the BJP, the saffron camp would not even have won 30 seats. None of the BJP’s 77 elected MLAs, who took oath on Friday, was present in the House on Saturday as the party’s West Bengal leader Dilip Ghosh had directed them to boycott the proceedings in protest against the post-poll violence against the BJP workers.
“I requested the central government to increase the allocation of medical oxygen for West Bengal. Instead of paying heed to our request, they are taking away medical oxygen produced in our state and giving them to other states. This is Centre’s step-motherly behaviour with West Bengal,’’ Mamata said.
She also expressed surprise at the speed with which the Centre sent a team to probe the postpoll violence. “It was not even 24 hours, I was sworn in and they (the Centre) sent a letter on the same day and a team on the next day. This is unprecedented,” she said.
The Bengal chief minister also sought to mount pressure on the Centre over vaccinations.
“I wrote to the Centre in February, seeking its nod for the procurement of vaccines by the state. But there was no response. We want to give vaccines for all in the state,” she said. “Besides, I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister demanding free universal vaccination in the country. For this, the Centre will have to spend Rs 30,000 crore. They are focused on building a new Parliament, buying new aircraft for the PM and erecting giant statues, which cost more than that,’’ she said.
Mamta also accused the BJP’s national leadership of spreading Covid-19 infection in the state by holding major rallies before the election. She charged that the Election Commission deployed a large number of central police force personnel in the state for election duties without testing them for Covid-19.