Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee shredded the Centre today over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in terms of oxygen shortage and vaccine prices. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said, only gives “bhashan” (speeches). On her part, she said the Covid patients in the state “should vote” and that she has asked the Chief Secretary to make arrangements. “Don’t worry about Covid. I am your pehradar (watchman),”she said.
“I am doing more Covid meetings than campaign meets,” Ms Banerjee said at a virtual rally today — held at Behrampore in Murshidabad district — after cancelling all her political rallies last week in view of the Covid crisis.
On Thursday, PM Modi had also cancelled his four scheduled rallies — hours before the Election Commission announced multiple restrictions — and held a single, virtual meeting.
Political leaders have been facing criticism for their preoccupation with elections in Bengal, when thousands are dying in the second surge of the pandemic that’s fast spinning out of control.
Ms Banerjee said, “Only Bengal stands up to the Centre and tells it like it is. That’s why this election is important. The whole country is watching these elections”.
“PM is doing Maan ka Baat. Who is interested? We need Covid ka baat. Our oxygen is getting diverted to Uttar Pradesh,” she said.
“Modi gave bhashan (speech) and ran away. If vaccines were administered by now, the outbreak would be less severe. He sent vaccine free to 80 countries,” she said.
Meanwhile at home, the BJP-ruled states are using subterfuges to disguise the situation, she said.
“Uttar Pradesh has put up walls around cremation grounds. Same in Assam and Tripura,” she said. “You are lucky to be in Bengal where there are no ‘divides’,” she added.
Bengal, she said, has asked 100 private hospitals to set aside 60 per cent beds for Covid patients.
“PM says ‘one nation, one leader’. Why not one price for vaccine? Why one price for the Centre, and another for states? Why all the vaccine is going to Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh?”
Till Saturday, Bengal had cumulatively vaccinated 99,37,069 people so far.
The state still has two more rounds of elections to go. The seventh phase of polls will be held tomorrow, the last phase on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.