Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha MP and the party’s spokesperson Derek O’Brien on Tuesday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and gave point-by-point rebuttal.

After Modi commneted that people from Bengal are stopped from worshipping goddess Durga, O’Brien said in reality Rs 50,000 was provided as assistance to each Puja committee last year. He said before that Rs 25,000 was provided each year.

According to Derek, during Covid fire brigade services were provided for free to the Puja committees, no tax was collected by corporations and panchayats, 50 per cent concessions were given on electricity for the Puja organisers.

He added the West Bengal government paid Rs 2,000 as advance pension for two months to the farmers and fishermen in the state ahead of Durga Puja during the pandemic. “Biswa Bangla Carnival and the Pujas of Bengal are the biggest celebrations in the universe,” he informed.

When Modi said the TMC is not letting Bengal develop, Derek said on an average per person income more than doubled from Rs 51,543 in 2010 to Rs 1,09,491 in 2019. Derek added in the last 10 years, Bengal’s GDP has grown from Rs 4.51 lakh crore to Rs 6.9 lakh crore.

He said Bengal’s budget tripled in the last decade, growing from Rs 84,804 crore in 2011 to Rs 2.55 lakh Crore in 2020-21. The MP pointed out the Bengal government provides its farmers annual financial aid of Rs 6,000 per acre whereas PM Kisan provides maximum financial assistance of only Rs 1,214 per acre.