Mamata Banerjee launches a Verbal attack against Centre at PMs conference

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West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a verbal attack against the Centre at the video-conference meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

She took on the PM, the Home Minister Amit Shah and the Central government officials, accusing them of playing politics and taking unilateral decisions. She also questioned their actions in the midst of a pandemic. Mamta Banerjee was among the CMs who opposed the Centre’s plan to dilute the lockdown and start the train service.

Howrah: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses during a meeting over COVID-19 pandemic at Nabanna in Howrah during the extended nationwide lockdown imposed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, on Apr 17, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Sources familiar with the proceedings at the meeting said Banerjee accused New Delhi of taking decisions without consulting states. “She said that the Centre sends advisories and, before they reach the state, these are leaked to the BJP unit and media,” a source said. She also accused Central officials of holding video-conferences with state officials without keeping her government in the loop. “Don’t do politics, Amit Shah saheb,” she said.Unlike on earlier occasions, Banerjee’s attack was also directed at Modi, as much as the others.

A source present at the meeting said Banerjee made her anger evident right from the start, taking off by saying, “You are sending advisories one after another, without even consulting anyone. Amit Shah could have spoken on the phone, but instead he sent me a letter.”

While Bengal was being targeted, the Centre was overlooking decisions of BJP-ruled governments, including on labour laws, Banerjee said, specifically mentioning Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

Asserting that West Bengal was doing its best to combat the virus, the CM said “surrounded by international borders and other bigger states”, the state had “too many challenges to deal with”.

According to top sources in the state government, Banerjee said, “When we are cooperating with you, why are you attacking us? Why is it always Bengal?… The Centre is working according to a script… Nobody ever asks our opinion. Don’t bulldoze the federal structure… All states should be given equal importance and we should work together as Team India.”