As the issue of migrant workers returning to their respective states continues to be of prime focus amidst the lockdown, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has written to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. In the letter, Shah said that the Centre is not getting the expected support from the Mamata Banerjee government to help migrant workers reach home. The Centre is arranging for 2,000,00 migrant workers to reach their homes in various states which includes West Bengal.
“West Bengal government is not allowing trains with migrants reaching the state. This is injustice with WB migrant labourers. This will create further hardship for them,” said Amit Shah in his letter to Mamata Banerjee.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP and Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee has slammed Amit Shah, saying that the Union Home Minister is misleading people. “A HM failing to discharge his duties during the crises only speaks after weeks of silence, only to mislead people with bundle of lies. Ironically he’s talking about the very ppl who’ve been literally left to fate by his own Govt.Mr.@amitshah, prove your fake allegations or apologize.” Abhishek Banerjee tweeted.
“The Home Minister has woken up from deep sleep now. We were wondering whether in these 40 days, did labourers get even one fist of rice? You have cut salaries of government employees? Give answers to these questions first and then go back home and sleep,” said TMC leader Derek Obrien who also questioned how the media in Delhi got hold of the letter even before the West Bengal Chief Minister could open the email with the letter sent to her.
Left leader Mohahammad Salim has also hit out at both the Centre and the state, which has been at loggerheads over various issues, including the Centre accusing the state government of fudging number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had also sent two inter-ministerial central teams(IMCT) for spot assessment of the situation. The IMCT found serious lapses in lockdown protocol and social distancing, including people playing cricket and football on the streets.
“Migrant and quarantine is the responsibility of the Central and state governments. Despite guidelines, they (Centre) says Railways is the responsibility of the state. How come? They have done this because they don’t want to take responsibility,” said Left leader Mohammah Salim.
“Our Chief Minister is trying to copy the Gujarat model which has led to the increase of so many diseases. The Centre and state are creating pandemonium with this pandemic.” Salim also questioned why the Kerala model was not followed which is so disciplined while handling the virus. “Mamata on the other hand has been saying that the state is following the Kerala model,” added Salim.
The state administration has been claiming all along that they are following the Kerala model. The number of COVID-19 cases have doubled in a week even as testing has doubled. With Assembly elections in West Bengal slated for next year, Mamata is trying to hold on to her turf while the BJP is attempting to inch it’s way further into the state, which saw a rise from 2 to 18 MPs in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.