West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Thursday refuted BJP president Amit Shah’s claim that the Narendra Modi-led government had given West Bengal Rs 3.6 lakh crore and Rs 2.85 crore on gross level.
The BJP chief made the claim at a public rally at Purulia district on Thursday, where he stated that despite the funding from the Centre, the people haven’t been able to enjoy any of the benefits and the BJP will oust the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) from the state in the next year’s Lok Sabha election.
West Bengal was given Rs 2.85 lakh crore in the 14th Finance Commission, but the amount was less on a net basis, said Mitra while speaking to the media in Kolkata.
“Where is the word (in Shah’s speech) about the debt restructuring the state has been demanding for long?,” the finance minister asked and accused the Centre of drastically reducing its share in funding development projects.
“Bengal is compelled to borrow due to the loans taken by the previous Left Front government,” he said, adding that even the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) had pointed out that 30-35 per cent of the loan amount was being spent on development projects.
West Bengal’s spending on infrastructure was Rs 18,000 crore, Mitra said, adding that it had quadrupled under the TMC rule in the state.
He accused Shah of spreading “blatant lies” about Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and defaming the state’s reputation and said, “It is a shame that a person who has no political credibility is accusing Mamata Banerjee, who had been a seven-time MP and a chief minister.”
Shah had even gone to the extent of linking Banerjee’s name with bomb-making, Mitra said, alleging that the BJP was destroying various institutions and that a “neo-emergency-type” situation was prevailing in the country.
The saffron party was practising “divisive politics” and not only the people of Bengal, but the entire country will reject it in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, he said, adding, “Of the last 11 bypolls, the people have rejected them in 10.”
Describing the BJP as a “militant organisation”, Mitra said, “What else can you say about them when the state unit chief of the party issues threats of killing and sending people to the crematorium in public.”
Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh had threatened to retaliate if the workers of his party were attacked by the TMC.
Banerjee too had described the BJP as a “militant organisation” engaged in dividing people along religious lines and dared it to attack her party.
(With inputs from agencies)