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‘Corona Express remark will be your exit route’: Amit Shah slams Mamata at virtual Bengal campaign rally

Last month, Mamata had reportedly said that in the name of Shramik Express, Indian Railways is running ‘Corona Express’ while alleging that social distancing is not being maintained in special trains transporting migrant workers and other people to their homes.

SNS | New Delhi |

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her “Corona Express” remark for Shramik Special trains, saying “it will become the exit route” for the Trinamool Congress.

Shah was addressing the ‘West Bengal Jan Samvad Rally’ via video conference.

“Mamata ji, you referred to Shramik Special Trains as ‘Corona Express’. The name that you have given, ‘Corona Express’ will become an exit express for TMC. You have insulted migrant workers… you have rubbed salt into their wounds and they will not forget it,” he said.

Last month, Mamata had reportedly said that in the name of Shramik Express, Indian Railways is running “Corona Express” while alleging that social distancing is not being maintained in special trains transporting migrant workers and other people to their homes.

“They are stuffing the Shramik trains full of people, there is no social distancing, no food, no water, nothing. What are they trying to do? Are they running Shramik trains or are they trying to run Corona Express,” she remarked.

She had also questioned the Railways for not running extra trains. “Why are extra trains not being run? I was Railway Minister once. I had increased coaches, why can it not be done now? The Railways are bringing people from hotspot areas in huge numbers,” she said.

Meanwhile, ahead of Amit Shah’s speech, Mamata’s nephew and Trinamool lawmaker, Abhishek Banerjee tweeted: “Respected Amit Shah Ji, Bengal has not heard you speak during these times of crisis, but we hope today you would take a minute to answer this: Are the Chinese occupying our territory or not? (sic.)”

Amit Shah and Mamata Banerjee have been engaged in bitter spat over the Coronavirus crisis in the recent past.

With the Centre having constantly criticised West Bengal for not cooperating in bringing back its migrants, Mamata Banerjee had in May revealed that she had told Union Home Minister Amit Shah that if he thought the state government was failing to handle the crisis properly, why didn’t he try and deal with it himself.

“I told Amit Shah, you are sending constantly central teams to Bengal. Go right ahead. But if you think the West Bengal government can’t do the job, why don’t you handle the corona crisis yourself? I have no problem.”

“I thank him for what he said in response,” she added. “He said… ‘No, no, how can we dislodge an elected government’. He said that to me,” Mamata Banerjee had said at a press briefing.

“I would normally never disclose all this. But given the situation, I want to tell Amit Shah, take care. You have done the lockdown. But trains and planes are running. So what about the people?” she added.

“I want to tell PM and HM (Home Minister), please see corona doesn’t spread. We already have 1 lakh cases. Some quarters want it to spread for politics. Bihar is affected. Rajasthan, MP, it is spreading everywhere. What can I do? In this disastrous situation, I want PM to intervene,” the West Bengal CM further said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, had expressed his dismay over the state government stonewalling efforts by the Centre to facilitate transportation of migrant labourers back to the state.

Shah had said that the West Bengal government was not allowing trains with migrants to reach the state, further creating hardship for the labourers and termed the act as “injustice” towards Bengali workers.

Meanwhile, Amit Shah, in his address at the ‘West Bengal Jan Samvad Rally’ lauded the selfless, tireless fight put up by ‘corona warriors’ against India’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He wished speedy health to those suffering from Coronavirus, so that they could aid in the building of “Sonar Bangla”. Detailing BJP’s virtual progress amid social distancing, he said BJP rallies could not be stopped amid Coronavirus.

Shah also paid his respects to the families of over 100 BJP workers who lost their lives in the political battle in West Bengal since 2014 and contributed to the development of ‘Sonar Bangla”.

Further upping the ante, Amit Shah said, “While democracy has strengthened its roots and has been consolidated in the entire country, West Bengal remains the only state where political violence is propagated”.

He also slammed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for not implementing the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme in West Bengal and asked her to stop “doing politics on the rights of the poor”.

“People across the country are availing benefits of Ayushman Bharat Yojana… even Arvind Kejriwal accepted it in the end but Mamata didi, why are you not letting this scheme be implemented in West Bengal. I and the people of Bengal want to ask you this,” he said.

“Mamata ji, do poor people of Bengal have no right to receive free and quality medical aid? Why then Ayushman Bharat scheme is not allowed here? Mamata Ji, stop doing politics on the rights of poor. You can do politics on a lot of other issues, but why on the poor’s health,” Amit Shah further said.

He said that the Centre had repeatedly asked for the list of intended poor beneficiaries in the state but the TMC government had been refusing to share the same.

Shah alleged that West Bengal government did not share the list of people who could benefit from the Kissan Samman Nidhi Yojana, due to which the intended beneficiaries could not get the money.

Around 1.25 crore migrant workers had been helped to return to their native states through 4300 Shramik Special trains so far by the Central government, the BJP leader said.

He also claimed that the TMC government has allowed only 3 lakh migrants to return to West Bengal through 236 trains.

Sounding the poll bugle for the West Bengal Assembly elections which are still months away, the Home Minister claimed that the state had lagged behind other states in development and its law and order was in bad shape.

The senior BJP leader further appealed to the people of West Bengal to vote his party to power in the next Assembly elections, promising to make it ‘Sonar Bangla’.

The Assembly elections are slated to be held in the first half of next year in West Bengal.