Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi came down heavily on the Mamata Banerjee government on Tuesday in an election rally alleging the money that the centre sends to the state for the people don't reach them properly.
"I saw the type of roads that the Bengal government gives you. I took 15 minutes to travel a stretch that should have taken 2 minutes. But you have to travel on these roads every day. We send crores of rupees for Bengal," said Gandhi in speech that lasted for less than 10 minutes.
He was addressing at a tea garden that falls under Alipurduar constituency. The crowd was estimated at about 5,000, and a lot of them were schoolchildren.
"The centre sends more money to Bengal for education. No other state gets as much," remarked Gandhi. But the money does not reach the roads, the education sector or the roads. "Please remember it is your money," remarked Gandhi.
He was obviously trying to rebut the frequent charge of Mamata Banerjee that the centre takes away huge money – Rs. 74,000 crore according to her since 2011 – that has left her government cash starved.
"It's sad that the Trinamool government that replaced the Left government in Bengal is doing the same things against which it fought. You have to bring a government that will fight for workers, farmers and the common man," said Gandhi.
Bengal did not get the parivartan it deserved, and Trinamool is acting just like the Left government, he remarked.
The Congress vice president is supposed to address a rally in Kolkata on Tuesday afternoon.
Mamata Banerjee is supposed to address a rally in North Bengal later in the day. It remains to be seen whether she responds to Gandhi's criticism.
In September 2010, in a public rally in the north Bengal town of Siliguri, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee delivered a famous jibe at Rahul Gandhi who was visiting Bengal and addressing rallies. "We are not birds of passage who come here for a day or two and fly away," she commented then.