Mamata Banerjee targets Centre over fake MGNREGA job cards in BJP-ruled states
On Tuesday, Union minister of state for rural development, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, informed the Parliament through a written reply that in Uttar Pradesh, 67,937 and 296,000 fake MNREGA job cards were cancelled in 2021-22 and 2022-23, respectively
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh topped the list of states where fake job cards for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) schemes have been cancelled, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday, attacking the Centre for suspending funds under the same welfare scheme in her state.
“Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of fake cards. Did the Union rural development ministry take any action? They have stopped giving us funds under MGNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) and mid-day meal (under PM Poshan). This is gross injustice,” Banerjee said in Kolkata.
On Tuesday, Union minister of state for rural development, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, informed the Parliament through a written reply that in Uttar Pradesh, 67,937 and 296,000 fake MNREGA job cards were cancelled in 2021-22 and 2022-23, respectively, accounting for the nation’s highest figures.
During the corresponding period, 95,209 and 27,859 fake job cards were cancelled in Madhya Pradesh and 388 and 5,263 cards were cancelled in Bengal during 2021-22 and 2022-23, respectively, according to her reply to a question raised by the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Banerjee raised the issue on Wednesday hours after Union rural development minister Giriraj Singh said in Delhi that Bengal is submerged in corruption.
“The entire state of West Bengal is submerged in corruption and the chief minister is dancing with (actor) Salman Khan,” Singh was heard saying in a video clip that went viral on social media.
Unperturbed by Singh’s attack, Banerjee said, “The BJP is fooling people since the day it came to power. They are the biggest pickpockets looting the common man. Demonetisation was the first gimmick and then came the promise of depositing Rs.15 lakh into the bank accounts of every Indian. Singh told me a day ago that I should meet the Prime Minister and discuss the suspension of funds. I met him thrice earlier and I am willing to see him again when we visit Delhi to raise our demands.”
“They (Centre) have sent 107 teams to Bengal so far. Let them do whatever they feel like. The funds must be released,” Banerjee said.
Amid allegations over the irregularities in different centrally-sponsored schemes in West Bengal as well as the unpaid central dues, central inspection teams have visited the state for inquiries.
On Wednesday, a team sent by the rural development ministry visited some villages in the Hooghly district to inquire into alleged irregularities in the disbursement of funds under PMAY and MNREGA.
In January, a Central team looking into allegations of irregularities had visited several villages in West Bengal’s Malda district.
In October, the chief minister’s nephew and TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee led agitations in Delhi and Kolkata protesting the suspension of these funds.
Meanwhile, sharing Singh’s video on social media, Suvendu Adhikari, leader of the Opposition in the Bengal legislative assembly, wrote, “Nero fiddled while Rome burnt. WB CM is Nero 2.0. She is dancing as WB is reeling under tremendous financial burden and limitless corruption.”
Hitting back, Bengal finance minister Chandrima Bhattacharya threatened to sue Singh.
“The Union minister has no sense of decency. He doesn’t even know how to talk about the nation’s only female chief minister. We will sue him for insulting her,” Bhattacharya said.