Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held yet another virtual meeting with the various Chief Ministers of the country. The video-conference -- the fifth of its kind -- came against the backdrop of rising COVID-19 cases in the country. On Sunday, the country had seen its largest single day spike in cases till date, with more than 4,200 people testing positive.
The Prime Minister was quoted by news agency ANI as stating that there had been "global recognition" of India's efforts to combat the virus. He urged the states to work in tandem and ensure than we "move forward together". The meeting however was not without conflict.
According to an NDTV report, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the Centre of "playing politics" and discriminating in their behaviour towards different states. She alleged that the Modi government was working according to a "script" and said that this was not the time to play politics.
"Nobody ever asks our opinion… Don't bulldoze the federal structure. When we are cooperating with you, why are you attacking us? Why is it always Bengal, Bengal, Bengal ? Why criticise?" NDTV cited sources to quote Mamata as saying.
As per an IANS report that quoted sources at the state Secretariat Nabanno, Banerjee also asked for a special economic package from the Centre during the meeting with Modi. According to the sources, apart from the special economic package for Bengal, Banerjee sought central assistance to bring back all bengal migrant labourers stranded in various parts of the country.
This is not the first time the West Bengal Chief Minister has clashed with the Centre. The deployment of two Central teams to assess the COVID-19 situation in the State had not been received well. The two teams incidentally had been sent after reports of lockdown violation and misreporting of case numbers.
The Mamata Banerjee-led State government had also disagreed with the Centre over the classification of red zones in West Bengal.
India as of Monday evening has recorded more than 67100 positive cases. According to the data provided on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's website, 2206 people have passed away. West Bengal had recorded 1939 positive cases and 185 deaths.
(With inputs from IANS)