Chanchal, West Bengal:
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday sharpened her attack on the Prime Minister over the resurgence of COVID-19, terming it a “Modi-made disaster” and demanded that he quit if unable to provide adequate medical supplies to combat the disease.
She alleged that 65 per cent of the drugs manufactured in the country for tackling the pandemic have already been exported.
“The COVID-19 pandemic had subsided in the country but has surged in a second wave owing to the monumental failure of the central government and negligence and total incompetence on its part,” she said addressing public meetings at Chanchal in Bengal’s Malda and at Harirampur in the Dakshin Dinajpur districts.
As the Election Commission did not accede to Trinamool Congress’ request to hold the last three of the eight-phase election in West Bengal on a single day, Mamata Banerjee said she is forced to combat the sharp rise in infections in the state as its Chief Minister as well campaign for Trinamool Congress, her party.
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee said “The country is facing a Modi-made disaster. Modi babu will have to take responsibility on why medicines to treat COVID-19 are not available in the market… You have to provide medicines or leave the chair. Either you control Corona or move out.”
“The second Covid wave is more intense There are no injections or oxygen. Vaccines and medicines are being shipped abroad even as there is a scarcity of these items in the country,” she said earlier a rally at Balurghat in Bengal’s Dakshin Dinajpur district.
“It is not a man-made disaster, it is Modi-made.” she added.
Alleging that 65 per cent of drugs manufactured in the country to treat coronavirus have been exported, she said while medicines may be given to other countries, it has to be also ensured that Indians get adequate supply on a priority basis.
BJP is attempting to break the spine of Bengal (but) we (TMC) have resolved to break its backbone,” Mamata Banerjee claimed, adding that none other than her had the strength to fight PM Modi.
“Bengal is the land of Royal Bengal Tiger and we fight like one,” Mamata Banerjee asserted.
Analysts feel that as Malda-Murshidabad districts of Bengal have been traditional bases for the Congress party, Mamata Banerjee is attempting to break the Congresss stranglehold by positioning TMC as the only alternative to BJP in the state.
The Chief Minister claimed that her government has done a lot for the welfare of Rajbanshis (an ethnic group inhabiting parts of North Bengal, Assam and Meghalayas) and minorities in the state.
Mamata Banerjee urged the people “not to allow division of votes” and to unitedly support the Trinamool Congress.
Addressing a gathering in the Muslim-dominated Malda district, Mamata Banerjee asked the electorate to cast their votes in favour of TMC irrespective of their religious beliefs as she claimed it to be the “only party which has not allowed any division on grounds of religion.”
There is “no one else in the market” to ensure a government which will protect religion and rights of all people other than the TMC, Mamata Banerjee asserted and urged people not to divide the votes against BJP by supporting the Congress or the Left Front.”
Earlier addressing an election rally at Balurghat, the Trinamool chief asserted that West Bengal will be run only by a “Bengal engine government” and not by “Modi’s double-engine”.
“Our state will be run by a Bengal engine government and not by Modi’s double-engine government. We will not allow Gujarat to capture our state or run it from Delhi. Bengal will rule Bengal,” she said.
The term “double-engine government” often used by BJP leaders denotes the government of the same party at the Centre and the state.
The TMC chief also urged people not to vote for Left-Congress-ISF alliance candidates claiming that voting for them will strengthen the BJP’s hand.
Mamata Banerjee said that the Centre had said seven months ago that the pandemic has subsided.
“Now, with elections underway in West Bengal, the BJP is bringing in people from other states and spreading the infection among the people here,” she alleged.
She said that her administration is finding it difficult to set up safe homes as many government accommodations are being used to house central forces.
“We are finding it difficult to set up safe homes. Although we have increased the number of beds, I would suggest that patients who don’t have severe symptoms, remain in home isolation,” Mamata Banerjee said.
She claimed that the BJP is saying different things at different places on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Elections to the 294-member state assembly are being held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. Results will be announced on May 2.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)