TMC MP and national spokesperson Derek O'Brien
TMC MP and national spokesperson Derek O'Brien
Photo credit: ANI

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien on Monday fact-checked Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech in Bengal's Hooghly and slammed him for his hard-hitting comments against the Mamata Banerjee government.

Taking to Twitter, Derek O'Brien wrote: "We did a #FactCheck of the speech delivered in Bengal by the Hon. Prime Minister today."

To claims Bengal had not been allowed to develop, O'Brien said the average per person income had "more than doubled—from Rs 51,543 in 2010 to Rs 1.09 lakh in 2019." "The average per person income more than doubled from Rs. 51,543 in 2010 to Rs. 1,09,491 in 2019. In the last 10 years, Bengal's GDP has grown from Rs. 4.51 Lakh Cr to Rs. 6.9 Lakh Cr (53%)t. Agriculture and allied services grew by 30%, industries by 60% and service sector by 62%. Bengal's budget tripled in the last decade, growing from Rs. 84,804 Cr in 2011 to Rs. 2.55 Lakh Cr in 2020-21," he said.

O'Brien also hit back at Modi on his claims of farmers of Bengal deprived of PM Kisan, and the blocking of Ayushman Bharat schemes. O'Brien said the state had already put in place schemes for farmers who, he said, had seen incomes triple in 10 years, and medical insurance.

"Bengal provides its farmers with annual financial assistance of Rs 6000 per acre. PM Kisan provides maximum financial assistance of only Rs 1,214 per acre. Bengal CM has written two letters to the Union Agriculture Minister for starting the PM Kisan programme in Bengal. Bengal Government has sent the names of 2.5 lakh farmers to the Centre for inclusion in PM-Kisan scheme. However, no amount has been disbursed by the Centre so far. Bengal farmer income tripled in last 10 years. In comparison, Centre will not double farmer income even by 2028 let alone 2022!"

He further said that Swasthya Sathi had been rolled out two years before Ayushman Bharat, covered 100 per cent of the Bengal population and the costs were borne fully by the state government.

"Bengal already has a better health insurance scheme - Swasthya Sathi - started two years before Ayushman Bharat. Under Ayushman Bharat, states have to bear 40% of the cost. Bengal govt bears the entire cost of Swasthya Sathi. Ayushman Bharat covers 40% of India's population while Swasthya Sathi covers 100% of Bengal's population. For Ayushman Bharat, the beneficiary has to pay Rs 30 per card, so Rs 150 for a family of five. Under Swasthya Sathi, the card is free and in the name of the elder woman of the family," O'Brien said.

O'Brien also slammed Modi for his claim of the West Bengal government not allowing people to worship Goddess Durga. "Rs. 50,000 assistance provided to each Puja committee in 2020. Rs. 25,000 provided each year in previous years. During Covid, fire brigade services provided for free to Puja planning committees, no taxes collected by corporations and panchayats, 50 per cent concessions on electricity for Puja organisers in West Bengal. West Bengal government paid Rs 2,000 as advance pension for two months to the farmers and fishermen in the state ahead of the Durga Puja during pandemic. Biswa Bangla Carnival and the Pujos of Bengal are the biggest celebrations in the universe," he said.

The Trinamool Congress leader also fact-checked Modi's claim of BJP government boosting railways in Bengal. "Mamata Banerjee as Railway Minister laid the foundation for Dumdum-Dakshineshwar metro in 2010. Phase I of the project was launched in 2013. For 7 years the BJP Govt. at the Centre failed to allocate enough funds & ahead of polls the BJP are rushing to steal credit. In fact, the Centre also shelved 31 projects initiated by Mamata Banerjee in Bengal and choked funding for the rest in the last few years," O'Brien added.

Earlier, accusing the top BJP leadership of "bad mouthing" West Bengal ahead of assembly polls, O'Brien had hit out Modi saying that it is the central government led by BJP that has given the Mamata Banerjee government awards for development works.

O'Brien said in a tweet that the Centre had given state awards related to small-scale industries, rural housing, rural road, and minority scholarship.

"Today, the senior-most member of the 'tourist gang' bad mouthed Bengal in his 'teleprompter performance'. Then how come Centre awards us #1 in 100 days work, small scale industries, rural housing, rural road, minority scholarship, skill development, EODB- Business, e-tendering and more," O'Brien said.

Launching a scathing attack on the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal, Modi had said on Monday that the people of the state have made up their mind for real 'poriborton' (change).

"Bengal has made up its mind for poriborton, and the BJP will bring 'aashol poriborton' (real change) in the state," Modi told a large gathering at the Dunlop Estate Village in Kolkata's neighbouring Hooghly district.

He said the jubilant response of the crowd has sent out positive signals to Delhi for a regime change in Bengal.

The PM said the lotus brigade would bring 'aashol poribartan', which the young generation of Bengal aims for. "The BJP government should be formed not just for political regime change, but for 'aashol poriborton' in the state," he had said.

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