West Bengal government's health scheme a hoax: Ex-TMC MLA Rajib Banerjee after joining BJP

BARUIPUR: Former West Bengal minister Rajib Banerjee, who recently joined the BJP from the Trinamool Congress, on Tuesday accused his former party of indulging in regionalism for narrow political gains which affected the interests of the people of the state.

He alleged that TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been fighting the central government for political compulsions. “A strange fire of regionalism is being spread (by the TMC). It is more dangerous than communalism. Bengal’s boys and girls are also in other states for education and work,” Rajib Banerjee said addressing a public meeting here in South 24 Parganas district.

The TMC often targets the BJP, claiming that it is a “party of outsiders”. Rajib claimed that on one hand, TMC leaders quote Rabindranath Tagore, and on the other, they indulge in violence and intimidation of opposition party workers.

BJP leaders Rajib Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikari were shown black flags on their way to the public meeting here. The saffron party claimed that TMC workers were behind this. While Adhikari switched sides from the TMC to the BJP in December last year, Rajib did the same last week.

Speaking at the meeting, Adhikari maintained that people of all faiths have got ration and cooking gas given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and they will support the BJP in the assembly elections in the state due in April-May.

“After (cyclone) Amphan, Prime Minister Modi had come to visit the affected areas immediately and had given Rs 1,000 crore for relief, but the funds were misappropriated,” he said. Adhikari charged the TMC government with changing the names of central schemes like Swachh Bharat Mission and claiming these to be their own.

Rajib claimed that by denying the central share of funding in schemes such as Ayushman Bharat and introducing a health insurance programme of the state government Swasthya Sathi, the chief minister has emptied the state exchequer. “She deliberately did not allow farmers of the state to get the benefits of PM Kishan Samman Nidhi,” he alleged.

Under the PM-Kisan scheme, an income support of Rs 6,000 per year in three equal installments is provided to small and marginal farmer families. The BJP leader said Union Home Minister Amit Shah had assured him that Bengal would get a special economic package for its development after the elections.

Rajib added that the chief minister boasts of West Bengal’s top position in the country in the 100-days’ work programme, but it only shows the bad job situation in the state that so many people have to get work through that scheme.