While West Bengal is burning, Abhishek issues ultimatum to centre

With increasing attacks on Hindus in recent times, TMC national general secretary and Didi’s all-powerful nephew Abhishek Banerjee gives centre 10-15 days to release MGNREGA funds

NEW DELHI | Updated: 05 April, 2023 7:32 pm IST

While the political cauldron in West Bengal is boiling over with increasing attacks on Hindus in recent times, the ruling Trinamool Congress, instead of addressing the issue, is trying to divert attention from the state.

With the panchayat election approaching, the TMC had upped its ante against its bitter rival in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as maverick party national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee gave an ultimatum to the central government.

“We are giving time for 10-15 days. Further action will be taken if they do not release the fund,” Banerjee said.

TMC’s No. 2 was in Delhi to meet the Union minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Giriraj Singh for pending dues under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (MGNREGA).

While Singh was not out of town, a delegation of 25 TMC MPs met with the department secretary on pending dues to the state. TMC claimed that no other state has been deprived of the 100-day work payment.

“Bengal is the only state where MGNREGA’s due has been stopped. If they receive any discrepancy, then they should investigate, but first they should release the money,” Banerjee said.

“One of the secretaries of the department said that they wanted to release the funds, but the Opposition in Bengal, that is, the BJP, is against this decision. I don’t know if he has said this willingly or if it just slipped from his mouth,” Banerjee added.

“The secretary also claimed that whenever the Centre plans to release our funds, BJP leaders from Bengal come here and create a ruckus stating that central funds should not be released to Bengal,” he alleged.

“More than 17 lakh families have not received money for 100 days of work because the centre has blocked the funds. We are here to raise our voices for the rights of the 17 lakh families of Bengal,” Banerjee further said.

Replying to the TMC’s allegations that the BJP is not releasing funds for West Bengal, MP Dilip Ghosh from Medinipur said, “People know who is the thief. The government used to send money. But the funds never reached the right people.” “There is corruption everywhere in Bengal,” the party’s national vice president said.

With the panchayat elections approaching, TMC is mounting pressure on the BJP-ruled central government. Ahead of the 2024 general elections, the panchayat election holds significance, as the BJP took giant steps in Bengal to become the main opposition party in the 2021 assembly election.

TMC is aware of the growing footprint of the BJP and looks to be employing every trick in the book to check its rising influence.

Earlier, the visit of the TMC MPs was nothing short of a drama, as they were stopped outside Krishi Bhawan Gate No. 6. Later, they waited on the premises for 25 minutes before being allowed to meet the secretary.

TMC sources told The New Indian that party leaders met Union Defence minister Rajnath Singh in the morning. They requested he ask Union minister Giriraj Singh to meet the leaders.

The memorandum submitted to the secretary mentioned Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 12, 2022, on the outstanding dues under various schemes. Another letter was written on June 9, 2022.

On June 16 of last year, a delegation of Trinamool MPs led by Sudip Bandopadhyay met with Union minister Giriraj Singh regarding the issue.

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