West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in an unexpected turn of the event during the PM-CM call, launched an attack on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accused his government of playing politics over the coronavirus issue.
“This is not the time to play politics. Nobody ever asks our opinion… Don’t bulldoze the federal structure,” NDTV quoted her as saying.
She further accused the centre of working according to a ‘script’ and also of discriminating among the states.
“When we are cooperating with you, why are you attacking us? Why is it always Bengal, Bengal, Bengal ? Why criticise?” she said.
“When Government of India has opened almost everything including opening of land borders, starting trains & opening airports, then what is the point in continuing with further lockdown,” ANI quoted Mamata Banerjee as saying.
Today in the afternoon, a meeting between PM and CMs of states – fifth since lockdown — was held to discuss the fate of the lockdown 3.0 when this sudden attack by Mamata Banerjee surfaced.
This is not the first case of a stand-off between Mamata Banerjee and the BJP-led central government on the coronavirus crisis.
Earlier, the central government had constituted an Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) on coronavirus. Interestingly the six IMCT teams were deployed in four states out of which three were non-BJP ruling states. West Bengal was one of those three states.
This had triggered a face-off between the IMCT and the TMC-led West Bengal government when the team had reached to the state.
Mamata Banerjee had cited ‘not being informed prior’ as the reason in a letter which she shot to the Prime Minister over the IMCT visit.
The scuffle did not stop here as later the centre accused the West Bengal government of “hiding” the data of the coronavirus affected patients and presenting a tempered data listing less number of affected patients.
However, TMC backfired and accused the centre of spreading “false propaganda.”
Last week, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan listed West Bengal in the list of three states seen as potential hotspots of the disease.
Centre had also included it among the 10 states, where teams of health experts will be sent to help state governments to contain the spread of the virus.