West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee is not going to attend the virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday as her name is reportedly missing from the list of speakers.
Sources at the state secretariat Nabanna said that Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha will attend the meeting to be held at 3pm to discuss the coronavirus crisis.
Beside Bengal, other states who will have their representatives during are Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.
Hitting out at the Centre’s decision for not letting Banerjee speak during Wednesday’s meeting, state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said the Centre has once again humiliated Bengal and tried to silence the chief minister.
“The consultation in the name of video conferences is mere hogwash if the Chief Ministers aren’t allowed to put forth their concerns,” he wrote on Twitter.
Senior Trinamool Congress leader and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim said the Centre is yet to release Rs 50,000 crore for the state and hence, trying to stop Banerjee from raising the issue.
“So far, they have given only Rs 1,000 for Amphan. They purposely omitted our chief minister’s name from the list of speakers so that she could not demand the money that Bengal should get from the Centre. This BJP-ruled central government is anti-people. This government is only for the rich and anti-poor,” Hakim said.
Party MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar said the Centre simply refuses to listen to the state’s grievances.
“Bengal is facing a double crisis. We are struggling with coronavirus pandemic and the cyclone aftermath. But they simply removed our CM’s name from the list of speakers so that they don’t listen to our grievances. If you don’t want our CM to speak then what is the point of holding such meetings,” she said.
Taking to Twitter, former Union Railways minister Dinesh Trivedi wrote, “It seems that the Centre is so worried about exposing itself to Mamata Banerjee’s constructive criticism on Covid-19 response that our hon'ble CM's been reduced to just a mute spectator for the latest round of VCs with the PM. People of Bengal won't forgive this!”
Banerjee has been repeatedly slamming the Modi government for not giving the state its share worth Rs 53,000 crore, including Rs 36,000 crore for central schemes.
She has also alleged that the economy is nose-diving due to the inefficient handling of the BJP dispensation. Recently, she also hit out at the Centre over the plight of migrant workers who she said were suffering due to the mismanagement of the government.
BJP's Rahul Sinha said it has became a habit of the state ruling camp to find out faults in all of Centre's moves and decisions.