Mamata criticises PM Modi's remarks on Sandeshkhali atrocities, corruption

Banerjee said whenever there have been any allegations of corruption, we have taken action and removed that person from the party

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee addresses an election campaign rally in Cooch Behar on 5 April (photo: PTI)
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee addresses an election campaign rally in Cooch Behar on 5 April (photo: PTI)


West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday, 5 April, hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks on atrocities against women and corruption, asserting that the TMC and her government had taken stern action against the culprits involved in alleged sexual abuse of women in Sandeshkhali.

Addressing a rally in Jalpaiguri, Banerjee said the allegations of corruption against the TMC are "politically motivated" and wondered why central funds have been stopped despite the Centre sending more than 300 teams to supervise funds usage.

"Yesterday, he [PM] said his fight was against corruption and atrocities in Sandeshkhali. I want to let him know that Sandeshkhali is not Singur or Nandigram. A few incidents took place locally and arrests have already been made. It was our police who made the arrests. We have returned the land to the people as we don't allow injustice against anyone," she said.

Banerjee said whenever there have been any allegations of corruption, we have taken action and removed that person from the party.

"Can Narendra Modi or BJP answer how many times he went to Hathras, where a Dalit rape victim was cremated in the dead of night without the consent of her parents? Was he sleeping then? They failed to deliver justice to Bilkis Bano," she said.

Referring to recent incidents in Sandeshkhali, where allegations of sexual abuse against TMC leaders surfaced, Modi, while addressing a rally in Cooch Behar on Thursday, criticised the state government for its alleged apathy towards the victims.

Hitting out at the prime minister over his remarks about equating corruption with TMC rule, Banerjee said, "There are no complaints about corruption right now. Yet, the funds for MGNREGA have not been released."

The TMC supremo said the BJP has no right to sermonise the Bengal government.

"Over 350 central teams were sent to Bengal to check implementation of three welfare schemes. They submitted reports. Make those public along with the reports from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat," she said.

"I challenge that even if there were a few cases in Bengal, we took action. Whereas in Uttar Pradesh, there were 85 lakh cases of corruption. Do not sermonise Bengal on corruption," she added.

Earlier in the afternoon, while addressing a rally in Alipurduar, Banerjee said the BJP has turned into a washing machine which protects corrupt leaders joining the saffron camp.

"Only those who are in the TMC are corrupt and everybody in BJP is a saint. It is a matter of national shame that a person against whom several criminal cases are pending has been appointed as the Union minister of state for home affairs. He has been re-nominated again," she said in an apparent reference to BJP candidate Nisith Pramanik, who is seeking re-election from Cooch Behar.

Recalling the death of four civilians at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district during the 2021 assembly elections in firing by central forces, Banerjee said the person responsible for the deaths has been nominated as its candidate in Birbhum.

Debashis Dhar, who was Cooch Behar SP during the last assembly polls, was later suspended and sent to compulsory waiting.

Banerjee said her efforts to provide compensation to the affected population of Jalpaiguri, where a storm had claimed five lives recently, could not fructify as the BJP had moved the Election Commission against it.

"The state administration was supposed to give compensation to the affected people. But the BJP doesn't want that to happen," she said.

Banerjee urged the Election Commission "to allow the state government to build 5,000 houses which were damaged in the storm."

Hitting out at the BJP for withholding central funds, Banerjee challenged the Centre to publish a white paper on the amount of money disbursed to the state in the last three years.

"Out of the 11.36 lakh verified Awas Yojana beneficiaries, over six lakh were from this region. Among these are people whose houses were destroyed in the storm. Why has the BJP kept them waiting for a house for the past three years? If there is corruption as per the BJP, why aren't they producing a white paper on the Awas funds? I challenge them on this," she said.

The chief minister said in the past five years, the BJP-led central government has taken away more than Rs 6.50 lakh-crore whereas they have stopped Rs 1.80 lakh-crore of our rightful dues.

Later in the day, Banerjee conducted a padayatra in the Siliguri area of Darjeeling district.

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