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Mamata Banerjee will pay heavy price in West Bengal polls for mishandling COVID-19 crisis: Vijayvargiya

Kailash Vijayvargiya.

Kailash Vijayvargiya.  

Demanding Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s resignation for her “failure” to effectively handle the coronavirus crisis, the BJP’s West Bengal minder refuted allegations that the saffron party was targeting her government for political reasons.

Accusing the Mamata Banerjee government of “abject failure” in handling the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and the migrant workers crisis, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya on Saturday said the Trinamool Congress (TMC) should be ready to “pay a heavy price” for it in the next Assembly election in West Bengal and any “PR agency” or poll strategist Prashant Kishor won’t be able to save the party.

Bengal not keen on bringing home migrant workers: Goyal

He also dismissed the Congress’ criticism that the coronavirus lockdown was “poorly planned”, alleging the party was “politically bankrupt” and looking up to “corrupt regional parties like the TMC” to run its show.

On the issue of tweaking of labour laws in the BJP-ruled States such as Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Vijayvargiya told PTI in an interview that the changes “keeping in mind the interest of the labourers were necessary if India aims to become a manufacturing giant like China”.

Demanding Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s resignation for her “failure” to effectively handle the coronavirus crisis, the BJP’s West Bengal minder refuted allegations that the saffron party was targeting her government for political reasons, and instead accused the TMC of doing politics on the issue.

Migrant workers from Bengal desperate, seek more trains to return

He said the confrontational approach of the TMC government towards the Centre at the time of crisis “has not served any purpose except the TMC’s objective to politicise a medical crisis ahead of the next year’s poll”.

“We don’t believe in doing politics at the time of crisis. But what Mamata Banerjee has been doing in Bengal in the name of handling the crisis is condemnable. They are more interested in hiding the figures, rather than treating patients. Now, when the lies stand exposed, she is removing bureaucrats. She should resign from the posts of the Chief Minister and the Health Minister,” Mr. Vijavargya said.

Accusing the TMC government of blocking Central aid to West Bengal, he said, Ms. Banerjee is doing “cheap politics” with an eye on the next year’s Assembly polls.

West Bengal cleared 10 trains for migrant workers, says Railways

“She fears that if Modi government succeeds in containing the damage, the saffron party would be in an advantageous position in 2021 Assembly polls.

“But let me tell her that her antics and the Centre bashing won’t be able to save her ship from sinking next year. She can hire Prashant Kishor or any other PR agency, but they won’t be able to protect her government.

“The TMC will pay a heavy price in the 2021 Assembly polls for mishandling COVID-19 and migrant labour crises,” he said.

After a close fight in the 2019 general election in which the BJP won 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, only four short of TMC’s 22, the Trinamool Congress hired Mr. Kishor to boost its chance in the 2021 Bengal polls.

Referring to allegations of fudging of COVID-19 figures in the State, the BJP leader alleged that had the Central team not visited West Bengal, the State administration would have continued to hide the actual situation of infection.

“But we still doubt whether the State government is revealing the actual figures (of coronavirus cases),” he said.

On the charge of irregularities in the PDS system, he alleged that the State government “prefers to starve” the poor people of the State by blocking Central aid to meet its own “political interests”.

Asked about criticism that the lockdown was poorly planned and had caused hardships to migrant labourers, he stressed that the decision was taken at the right time to check the pandemic, and even a window of two or three days after the announcement of the lockdown would not have been enough to send lakhs of migrant workers to their respective States.

“The international community has lauded India’s effort in controlling the pandemic and one of the reasons behind this is the early announcement of the lockdown. For the sake of argument, even if there was a two or three-day window, would it be possible to send lakhs of migrant workers to their home States. The answer is no,” he said.

Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have run hundreds of trains to bring back their stranded migrant labourers. It is only West Bengal that has not done enough in this regard and is blaming declaration of lockdown for the problem, the BJP leader said.

His comments come against the backdrop of the issue of facilitating the return of migrant labourers snowballing into a major political row after the West Bengal government was last week rapped by the Centre for not allowing trains to ferry migrants stranded in other parts of the country.

The TMC government has denied the charge and announced running of 105 trains to bring back its stranded residents.

On the economic impact of the crisis, the BJP leader said there will be a flight of capital from China in the post-COVID-19 period and India will emerge as an attractive investment destination for global giants shifting businesses from the neighbouring country.

When pointed out that the Congress too has called the lockdown “poorly implemented”, the BJP leader said, “The Congress after losing all its political credibility and strongholds is now dependent on regional parties to run its shop”.

“Congress has become politically bankrupt and is now looking up to corrupt regional parties like the TMC to run its party and fix its agenda. It is now shedding crocodile tears for the migrant labourers,” he said.

The nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of novel coronavirus was the “best possible decision” taken at an “appropriate time” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, adding that the Centre took everybody along in this battle against the contagion.

On the recent communal violence in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, he said riots not only reflect the “lawless situation in Bengal” but also “minority appeasement of the State government even at the time of crisis”.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 4:51:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mamata-banerjee-will-pay-heavy-price-in-west-bengal-polls-for-mishandling-covid-19-crisis-vijayvargiya/article31601386.ece

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