Express News Service
KOLKATA: On the eve of the seventh phase of the Assembly elections in West Bengal on Sunday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and BJP national president JP Nadda were locked in a war of words over the surging Covid-19 cases in the country.
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his latest Maan Ki Baath speech, Mamata said, “When the entire country is facing an oxygen shortage, you are engaging in Mann Ki Baat. Mann Ki Baat noy, Covid Ki baat korun (talk about Covid)’’.
The Trinamool Congress supremo once again accused the Centre of diverting the oxygen supply meant for West Bengal to the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh. She also reiterated her claim that the Centre is preferring some states over others when it comes to vaccine distribution.
“The Centre is diverting oxygen cylinders from the supplier who caters to West Bengal. Gujarat received the highest volume of vaccines while other states received about one-fourth of it,’’ she said in her virtual address to the voters in Murshidabad, which goes to the polls on Monday. She also continued her attack on the Election Commission.
“We requested the Commission to club the last three phases into one. But they did not listen to us. They kept the poll schedule unchanged endangering lives,’’ she said.
In his virtual rally on Sunday, Nadda hit back at her over her persistent attack on the Centre. He asked why she chose to skip the Prime Minister’s recent virtual meet with CMs during which ways to combat the pandemic were discussed.
“You hold the health portfolio in Bengal. You are claiming that vaccines are not available in the state. But you have forgotten that you have deprived the people of the state of many essential facilities over the last 10 years. If vaccines are not available, how come you are sending updates on the number of doses administered to people each day to the Union Health Ministry?’’ Nadda asked.
He further added that members of a Central team sent to West Bengal last year to review the coronavirus situation there were prevented from doing their work freely the TMC-led government. Nadda wondered whether it was ego that prevented Mamata from attending the virtual meet with the PM.
“Why didn’t you attend the meeting convened by the Prime Minister on the Covid situation? Is it because of your huge ego? Her (Mamata’s) non-stop attacks against the Centre is nothing other than a reflection of her own looming defeat,” Nadda said.