PM is punishing Bengal for 2021 defeat in Assembly election: Congress

‘He preaches cooperative federalism but practices confrontational federalism when it comes to non-BJP States,’ the Congress leader said

April 04, 2024 07:59 pm | Updated 09:14 pm IST - Kolkata

Congress Party leaders Jairam Ramesh and Deepak Babaria.

Congress Party leaders Jairam Ramesh and Deepak Babaria. | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on April 4 claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not “forgotten or forgiven” the drubbing his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received in the 2021 Assembly elections in West Bengal and that is why he had chosen to ignore the State other than when it was time to seek votes.

“The PM has never forgotten or forgiven the people of West Bengal for so decisively rejecting the BJP in the last Assembly election — this in spite of his extensive campaign,” Mr. Ramesh told The Hindu while the Prime Minister was on his way to Cooch Behar in north Bengal to address a rally ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

“He treats Karnataka too similarly after the people there rejected him and his party in the 2023 Assembly elections. He preaches cooperative federalism but practices confrontational federalism when it comes to non-BJP States,” the Congress leader said.

West Bengal, which sends 42 MPs to the Lok Sabha, is set to witness a triangular fight in the General Election, with voters having to choose between the ruling Trinamool Congress, the BJP, and the Congress-Left combine. The Congress, so far, has fielded candidates in seven seats, and the Left in 23.

“Today, the Prime Minister is on his way to Cooch Behar in West Bengal. There is perhaps no State whose people have suffered more at the hands of the Modi Sarkar. The PM should use this opportunity to answer for all his government’s failings in West Bengal,” Mr. Ramesh said in a post on social media platform X.

“It seems like the PM only goes to West Bengal when he needs to ask for votes. Before this election campaign, the last time he visited the state was for the 2021 Assembly elections (when he visited a record 22 times). Since then, he has been all over the country but has not felt the need to visit West Bengal even once. Why is the BJP government so reluctant to give anything to Bengal, when they are always so ready to ask when election times come?” his post further said.

The Congress leader said the Centre had shown extreme vindictiveness towards the people of West Bengal for rejecting the BJP in 2021. “Funds for MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) came to a complete halt within months of the BJP’s loss in the Assembly election, and according to the State Government, the Central Government’s dues to West Bengal now amount to a whopping Rs. 1.15 lakh crore. In their pettiness, the BJP government has withheld funds for a number of other critical rural welfare schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, National Health Mission and the Jal Jeevan Mission... How long do the State’s most vulnerable have to suffer while the PM nurses his fragile ego?” Mr. Ramesh said.

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