File photo: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. (ANI Photo)
File photo: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. (ANI Photo)

'BJP did nothing for tea garden workers despite MPs from north Bengal': CM

  • This comes a day after the Centre, in its Union budget, announced a package of 1,000 crore for the welfare of tea garden workers in West Bengal and Assam.
By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2021 10:03 PM IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did nothing for the tea garden workers despite having many MPs from the north Bengal, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Tuesday.

“So many BJP MPs had won from north Bengal in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. But they did nothing. Many tea estates are lying closed. Before the Lok Sabha polls, they promised to reopen a few of them. Did they do anything? We have reopened nine tea gardens. We would try to reopen more,” Banerjee said.

This comes a day after the Centre, in its Union budget, announced a package of 1,000 crore for the welfare of tea garden workers in West Bengal and Assam.

“Every time an election approaches, Delhi (the Union government) will promise to reopen closed tea gardens. Once the elections are over, they would flee. They would forget the tea gardens. Sometimes they talk and don’t do any work,” she said.

Also read: Personal jibes get sharper at BJP, TMC rallies; ex-ministers shown black flag

The BJP had made an impressive gain in north Bengal, winning seven of the region’s eight Lok Sabha seats in 2019. The party now poses a major challenge to the ruling party. In terms of the 56 assembly segments in the eight Lok Sabha seats in north Bengal, the BJP was ahead of the TMC in 35.

"If the Mamata Banerjee administration was sincere about the tea garden workers she should have met their demand of giving land rights. The workers never demanded houses because they would have got houses anyway under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna. The old discriminatory Plantation Labour Act has been scrapped after we pushed it. New labour laws have been passed by the Centre and this would ensure minimum wages for the workers which was their primary demand," said Raju Bista, BJP MP from Darjeeling and a BJP spokesperson.

The TMC supremo was seen dancing with tribals at a mass wedding ceremony in Alipurduar district of the state. The mass wedding ceremony was organised by the state police. At least 450 tribal couples got married.

Banerjee also went on a public relations overdrive, paying a surprise visit at a local wedding. She also went to a gurudwara.

In the crosshairs of the BJP in the run-up to the West Bengal assembly polls due in two months, TMC MP and chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee in January went on a five-day tour of the north Bengal districts.

With an eye on the polls, the chief minister also handed over allotment letters for houses to around 4,600 tea garden workers under a government scheme.

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