'Mechanism of Stealing Funds' Took Roots During Erstwhile Left Front Govt in West Bengal: Mamata

File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Trinamool Congress supremo was responding to allegations of irregularities in distribution of relief materials to those affected by cyclone Amphan.


Sujit Nath

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday alleged that the erstwhile Left Front government's legacy of corruption is to be blamed for the situation and asserted that such malpractices have been checked to a large extent under her rule.

"During the CPI(M) regime, there used to be 100 per cent stealing of funds at the panchayat level. We have managed to reduce it by 90 per cent... It will take some more time, but remember I do not spare my partymen also," she said.

Banerjee was responding to allegations of irregularities in distribution of relief materials to those affected by cyclone Amphan.

The Trinamool Congress chief alleged the mechanism of "stealing of funds" meant for welfare of the people took roots during the over three-decade rule of the Left government, which was ousted from power by Banerjee in the 2011 Assembly elections.

She said though her government has managed to check corruption to a large extent, the "Left Front mechanism" still exists in some quarters.

"This mechanism was developed by the CPI(M) during its 34-year rule. It's still in practice at some levels and I am fighting against this day in and day out," Banerjee said at the 'Safe Drive Save Life' programme organised by Kolkata Police.

The chief minister also said opposition parties in West Bengal were trying to politicise "small incidents" regarding misappropriation of funds. "There are 341 blocks in the state, several municipalities and towns. A few small incidents have been reported from three places...," she said.

Banerjee said the Trinamool Congress government has been taking action against those indulging in corrupt practices and their number will come down further.

"I not only have to fight against Amphan and COVID-19, but also against the Congress, the CPI(M) and the BJP. Then, there is the central government, too," the CM said.

Refuting Banerjee's claims, CPI(M) leader Md Salim said action was initiated against anyone involved in graft during the Left Front rule. “Everybody knows who is knee deep in corruption. Ruling party leaders are involved in loot all across the state,” he said.

The TMC supremo also accused the West Bengal BJP of providing "pocket and packet money" to a section of people to disseminate its anti-government propaganda in the state.

"The BJP has got so much money. It's offering pocket money and packet money to many.... I will see how many days they can continue this. After the 2021 assembly elections, the party will flee and you will see no one (of the BJP)," Banerjee said.

She claimed that a leader of the saffron party and his mother had tested positive for COVID-19 in the city, but the state BJP unit did not respond to his calls for help.

"I had got a call from the police regarding this. I instructed officials to immediately take them to MR Bangur Hospital; now they have recovered. This is the same BJP leader who talks big and criticises us (the TMC) all the time," Banerjee said.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh challenged the Trinamool Congress president to send all corrupt party leaders behind bars. “Her claim that she is taking action against corrupt party leaders is an eyewash. Nothing is going to happen to them in reality. They will continue to loot people’s money”.

Meanwhile, Banerjee held a meeting with doctors at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ and assured them of all kinds of assistance from the government.

She requested people to follow lockdown norms strictly and announced that ‘rigorous’ lockdown will be there till July 15, following which the government will review the situation and take a decision accordingly.

While going through the latest list of containment zones, the chief minister reportedly lost her cool after she found that the containment zones list for South 24-Parganas was not done properly and asked Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha to prepare a fresh list.

“I am not agreeing with your containment list prepared for South 24-Parganas district. Very unfair... very bad... Is it a voter’s list? The containment zones list prepared for South 24-Parganas district was done in haste. Please rectify the list with proper survey of case studies and mapping,” she said.

The chief minister, however, expressed her satisfaction with the containment zone list prepared for Kolkata, North 24-Parganas and Howrah.

(With inputs from PTI)

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