Questioning Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s recent criticism of the Centre on its move regarding Aadhaar cards, Left Front chairperson Biman Bose asked on Monday what her stand was on the issue when it was taken up by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of which her party was then a part of.
“When the matter [Aadhaar issue] was brought up by the UPA government, the Left parties had protested against its many anomalies. But what was the stand of the Trinamool Congress then needs to be looked into,” said Mr. Bose, who is a Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the party’s State Secretary.
Ms. Banerjee on November 1 slammed the Centre for its decision to make Aadhaar cards mandatory for availing government benefits, including cooking gas cylinders at subsidised rates.
Accusing the Centre of trying to impose limitations on the number of subsidised LPG cylinders without clearing the Aadhaar card’s “technical complications”, Mr. Bose said, “We [Left Front] are strongly opposing the Centre’s ploy to take away the benefits of subsidised LPG cylinders from consumers.”
“The benefits of subsidised cooking gas cylinders received by consumers at present cannot be taken away by any kind of trickery,” he said.
Pointing out that “universal rationing” has been the Left parties’ long-standing demand, he recalled the Supreme Court’s ruling on Aadhaar card where it said the Aadhaar card cannot become the sole requirement for receiving government benefits.
“The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance had also said that if government aids are regulated like this then such benefits would not reach the people,” said Mr. Bose.
‘Lack of transparency’
Alleging lack of transparency, he said a person has to collect his Aadhaar card to avail subsidised LPG cylinders.
The subsidy on the cylinders would then be deposited to the person’s bank account.
“But how will someone, who does not have a bank account, receive the benefits?” he asked.