CM Mamata invites flak from BJP for seeking Ayushman Bharat, Kisan Samman Nidhi funds
Banerjee’s letters were released on social media by the state government on Tuesday afternoon while the BJP was heightening its campaign, accusing her of depriving millions of farmers of the Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme against the backdrop of her opposition to the farmers’ bills passed by the Parliament.Updated: Sep 23, 2020, 23:39 IST
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has drawn flak and ridicule from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for saying that she is willing to implement the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme for farmers and the Ayushman Bharat Yojana healthcare scheme if the funds are transferred to her government for disbursement.
Banerjee said this in her letters to Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on September 9.
Under these schemes, the Centre transfers money directly to bank accounts of beneficiaries.
Banerjee’s letters were released on social media by the state government on Tuesday afternoon while the BJP was heightening its campaign, accusing her of depriving millions of farmers of the Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme against the backdrop of her opposition to the farmers’ bills passed by the Parliament.
Banerjee also said in her letter to Dr Harsh Vardhan that the Centre would have to bear 100 per cent cost of the Ayushman Bharat Yojana since the state government spends a huge amount of money on free treatment at government hospitals and an insurance cover for treatment of critical diseases at private hospitals.
BJP leaders and even governor Jagdeep Dhankhar have said that if the funds were directly given to the state there could be misappropriation.
“The chief minister wants the money so that it can be pocketed to fight the coming assembly polls. Relief funds given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after Cyclone Amphan was misappropriated by TMC leaders,” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said in Delhi.
Amit Malviya, head of the BJP’s national information technology cell, taunted Banerjee and her nephew, Lok Sabha member Abhisek Banerjee, by referring to them as ‘Pishi’ (aunt) and ‘Bhaipo’ (nephew) in his tweet on Wednesday.
“Under pressure, Mamata Banerjee writes to Centre, says WB ready to disburse PM Kisan Samman Nidhi ‘provided’ money is transferred to the state government. Pishi, heard of DBT? No Bhaipo in between, no cut money either. Money will go directly to farmers and not to TMC workers,” wrote Malviya.
In West Bengal, the term ‘cut money’ is synonymous with bribe or commission.
In his tweet, Governor Dhankhar also talked of corruption and asked why the chief minister wants to be an intermediary.
“Hallmark of #PM-KISAN is transparent direct transfer of fund to farmer without intermediary and cut. Government @MamataOfficial wants to be its agent intermediary. For what! OMG- fishing for opportunity #MAP. Glaring injustice and corruption #AmphanRelief and PDS an open secret,” Dhankhar tweeted, tagging the chief minister.
The TMC reacted by saying that Banerjee asked for the funds purely to uphold the spirit of the country’s federal structure.
“The allegations being made by the BJP are baseless. The chief minister wants to uphold the spirit of federalism. In any scheme, the beneficiary should get the money from the state government. Direct transfer to bank accounts of beneficiaries will help the BJP create a political influence. This cannot be allowed,” said TMC Lok Sabha member and spokesperson Saugata Roy.
“If the Centre intends to give the money let it do so through the state. That would be subscribing to the federal structure laid down by the Constitution,” said Roy.
The Bengal unit of the BJP on Wednesday even started posting on its social media page short videos to target the chief minister. Made with selected clippings from televised footage, the videos showed Banerjee expressing her apprehension about the plight farmers might face because of the new bills and the Prime Minister dismissing her charges.