NEW DELHI: Union home minister
on Tuesday made a strong pitch for ‘paribartan’ in
, months ahead of the 2021 assembly polls, saying CM
dubbing the Shramik Specials as ‘Corona Express’ will eventually turn into “Exit Trinamool Express”. Trinamool Congress hit back saying Shah peddled “lies and half-truths” to the people of
Bengal was the only state that has requisitioned 235 trains when Bihar had asked for 1,500 trains and Uttar Pradesh 1,700, Shah said in his first virtual rally here, playing on the sentiments of the migrant workers from the state.
“The Bengal government tried to keep migrant workers away when they were desperate to get back to their families. Mamata has insulted workers of Bengal by calling Shramik trains Corona Express. This Corona Express will soon turn into Exit Trinamool Express,” he said.
Shah lashed out at Mamata over the violence on state
functionaries and alegd that police prevented the party’s lawmakers from reaching out to the people during the lockdown. “You (Mamata) have stopped our leaders and have beaten few of them. I am talking to the people of Bengal on virtual space. Come and stop me if you can.”
Referring to TMC’s opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act, he said, “After Partition, refugees came to Bengal and have been staying here without identity and rights. The Modi government honoured them by adopting CAA. I want to ask Mamata what harm did Matuas do to you that you are denying them citizenship rights. Wait for elections, people of Bengal will make you a political refugee.”
TMC retaliated with its functionaries Derek O’Brien and Dinesh Trivedi besides state finance minister Amit Mitra alleging that BJP is ‘hungry for votes” and that Shah is peddling lies. They said it is no time to start a political campaign when people expected the home minister “to work shoulder-to- shoulder with CMs to beat the corona crisis, stand by people of Bengal in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Amphan cyclone and also take care of the situation arising out of the border stand-off with China”.
“The issue in the country today and the world over is corona, which is why the home minister had to do a virtual rally, indicating that these were unnatural times. It is unfortunate that we are having to counter political charges made by the home minister of the country, when it is time to deal with a much more important issue like the pandemic,” said TMC’sDinesh Trivedi.
Shah crafted his paribartan narrative with focus on the state’s farmers, poor, Adivasis, Dalits and refugees from Bangladesh. “The Modi government has transferred Rs 11,000 crore to Bengal other than those for welfare schemes. It is another matter that people have been deprived of the benefits of some such schemes.”