BJP-TMC tussle: The Centre and the West Bengal government are facing off against each other, this time over the issue of “Rs 15,000 crore dues” to the state government under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and PM Awas Yojana.
The TMC-led West Bengal government has accused the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of withholding Rs 15,000 crore in dues to the state.
Union Minister and BJP leader Anurag Thakur lashed out at the TMC and alleged that the party did corruption in the houses that were meant for the poor.
Thakur said that the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government allotted the houses to those who “already had multi-storeyed houses”.
“They did corruption in houses for the poor. They allotted houses to those who already had multi-storeyed houses. After independence, it was only PM Modi's government that made 4 crore 'pucca' houses for the poor... But the TMC government, their officers, and leaders grabbed the poor peoples' rights,” he said.
Questioning Mamata for the same, the Union Minister said that PM Modi has given four time more money to West Bengal than what was given during the UPA government.
“I want to ask Mamata Banerjee why the three-storey house owners' names were in the PM Awas Yojana. Why were the eligible people kept out of it?... I want to ask Mamata Didi - why didn't you take action when you were asked by the Centre...Where was the cut money going?... PM Modi has given 4 times more money to West Bengal than the UPA government,” he said.
TMC protests in Delhi
The Union Minister’s remarks come after top leaders of the TMC including Abhishek Banerjee, MLAs, MPs and ministers flew to the national capital to protest on the release of funds by the Centre. They held a “peaceful protest” at Rajghat today on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti for two hours and alleged that the BJP is “scared”.
They paid tributes to Gandhi at the memorial and sat in protest for two hours, sporting black armbands and displaying placards, after which they were escorted out by security personnel.
"They are scared that is why they are doing this...They talk about being a big party, but it is now visible that they are scared," Banerjee told media persons outside Rajghat before he was stopped by the police and the TMC protesters were asked to clear the area.
The TMC lashed out at the central government for "stopping" it from holding a "peaceful protest" and alleged that the protesters were heckled and manhandled by the security personnel.
At Gandhi's samadhi, Banerjee held a placard demanding that the Centre "release fund for Bengal".
Another placard read 'Bengal Deprived: 1 lakh 15 thousand crore families, Rs. 15,000 crore owed'.
Speaking to the media before leaving the venue, Banerjee said the BJP government is "scared".
The TMC leaders and supporters will stage a protest at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday over the issue.
The party claimed that over 50 lakh letters have been brought by the protesters from West Bengal that are addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the non-payment of dues.
TMC sources said letters will also be brought from BJP-ruled Assam, Goa, Tripura and Meghalaya highlighting alleged corruption in central schemes.
Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee was scheduled to attend the programme in New Delhi, but is unlikely to do so as she has been advised ten days of rest by doctors after she suffered an injury in her left knee during a recent trip to Spain and Dubai.
The chief minister held a two-day sit-in in March this year against the Centre's alleged move of "not releasing funds" to the state for MGNREGA and other welfare schemes.
(With PTI inputs)