‘Half Truth’: Mamata Reacts to Modi’s Attack in Address to Farmers

The chief minister said that the Centre was not co-operating with releasing funds.

Published
Politics
3 min read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata after aerial survey of devastation caused by Amphan cyclone earlier in 2020.
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his virtual address to farmers where he attacked Banerjee saying that her ideology had destroyed Bengal.

Banerjee returned the prime minister's attack saying that he was presenting distorted facts and half truths.

"Lakhs of farmers are protesting on the roads demanding the withdrawal of the new farm laws which are anti-farmer as they threaten to dilute the MSP, the state procurement system, and take away the basic protective mechanisms of the famers hence, leaving them at the mercy of big private players. And today, the prime minister showed his apparent concern for the farmers through a televised address, instead of proactively working to resolve their issues," said a statement from the chief minister's office.

The chief minister further alleged that there was no co-operation from the Centre when it comes to issues relating to farmers.

"While he publicly claimed his intention to help farmers of WB through his PM Kisan Yojana and alleges non-cooperation of the state government, the fact is that he is trying to mislead the people with half-truths and distorted facts. Let me set the record straight – we have always been ready to cooperate in the interest of the farmers. I personally have written two letters and have even spoken to the concerned minister two days ago but they are refusing to cooperate and are instead indulging in malicious propaganda for political gains. When we are implementing so many schemes with the central government, the question of not cooperating on a scheme that is benefitting farmers seems absurd," the chief minister said.

She also said that financially, the Centre had done nothing to help the state.

"They are yet to release even a portion of the Rs 85,000 crores of outstanding dues that includes unpaid GST dues of Rs 8,000 crores. If he genuinely wants to help the state, he must release at least a part of these funds so that we are in a better position to address our needs," the statement said.

What PM Modi Said on Farmer Protests

At a virtual address for farmers, amidst massive nationwide protests against three contentious agricultural Bills, the prime minister slammed the West Bengal government and asked it to release the next instalment of financial aid under the PM-KISAN scheme. Modi said that he was "saddened" by the fact that 70 lakh farmers of the state are not being able to benefit from this scheme due to "political animosity".

"The farmers of Bengal have been deprived of the benefits of the Centre's schemes. Bengal is the only state which is not allowing benefits of the schemes to reach the farmers...Mamata Banerjee's ideology has destroyed Bengal. Her actions against the farmers have hurt me a lot. Why is the Opposition quiet on this?" the prime minister said.

Modi's statement comes in the midst of an already high-pitched campaign for the West Bengal elections next year.

"Except for West Bengal government, all other state governments have joined PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. Till now, Rs 96,000 cr has been transferred to farmers. In West Bengal, this scheme will benefit 70 lakh farmers. I have written to WB CM to join this scheme," said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar after the prime minister's speech.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar also reacted to the prime minister's speech.

"It's a matter of concern for me that farmers of West Bengal could not benefit from Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. As governor, I've repeatedly approached the chief minister regarding this issue but none of my letters were answered", said Dhankhar.

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