Reeling under intense pressure and with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) hovering over her head, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday took to launching yet another attack against the Modi government and demanded that vaccines be made free for the entire population of India, which according to her estimates – will cost the Centre a ‘meagre’ ₹30,000 crores. According to Banerjee, ₹30,000 crores is “nothing for the central government”. The latest remarks come in the backdrop of Mamata attacking the Centre on the issue of medical oxygen and Covid-19.
Interestingly, Mamata Banerjee’s vociferous campaign to ensure free vaccination for all 1.4 billion Indians comes after she successfully emptied the state treasury by dolling out freebies in her second tenure – particularly after sensing the rise of the BJP in West Bengal. Mindless cash transfers without a proper vision to uplift the people of West Bengal has now resulted in the state demanding free vaccination for all against Covid-19. Essentially, Mamata Banerjee now wants the Centre to bail her out.
Banerjee on Saturday probed, “Why are they (BJP) not allocating Rs 30,000 crores for vaccines when they are making new Parliament and statues, spending Rs 20,000 crores.” “Where is the PM CARES Fund,” the CM questioned while addressing the state Assembly. “Rs 30,000 crore is nothing for the Central government…There should be a universal vaccine program for all throughout the country,” she added. She also claimed that the Centre did not work in the last six months. “The Centre did not work in the last six months. Ministers came to Bengal every day to capture it,” she said.
The West Bengal government has also moved the Supreme Court demanding free COVID-19 vaccine for all as part of the universal vaccine drive. The matter is expected to be heard on May 10.
Mamata Banerjee has stalled multiple Central government welfare schemes and launched her own variants of the same to somehow prevent the people of West Bengal from developing feelings for the Modi government. Evidently, that does not seem to have worked, and now, Banerjee has once again inherited a state treasury which has been plundered due to money for all her own schemes going out via the state’s revenue pool.
Prior to the elections, the TMC government announced Rs 10,000 to each student of Class XII of the government-aided or sponsored schools and madrassas to purchase tabs or smartphones for access to online education in light of the pandemic. As a matter of fact, Madrassa students from Class I to VIII get free books, uniforms, bags and shoes under the TMC regime. According to News18, since 2012, imams and muezzins get monthly allowances. Imams get Rs 2500 a month, while Rs 1000 is given to muezzins who give the aazaan (call to prayer).
Now that the state has been made to face a dismal fiscal condition, Banerjee is asking the Centre to vaccinate all people free of cost. TFI had reported on Saturday how, in order to divert attention from the mass violence in West Bengal against BJP workers and supporters, Mamata Banerjee had shot a letter to PM Narendra Modi saying with the surge in Covid cases, Bengal’s oxygen requirement is going up and at such a time, the Centre is diverting its oxygen supply to other states. In her letter to the Prime Minister, Banerjee said that Bengal’s consumption of medical oxygen has gone up from 470 MT to 550 MT per day over the past week.
Mamata Banerjee has earned nationwide outrage for her party’s violent activities after it won a landslide victory last Sunday. Evidently, she is not wasting a single wakeful moment and is attacking the Centre senselessly.