Amid Congress party’s efforts to mollify Mamata Banerjee who has shunned the INDIA bloc, Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, demanding that the Central government release pending MNREGA funds to the West Bengal government.
“I am writing to you regarding the devastating plight of MGREGS workers in West Bengal, and their relentless fight for justice. During my recent visit to West Bengal as part of the Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra, a delegation of MGNREGS workers from Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity apprised me of the issues faced by them. A copy of the representation is appended herewith. Lakhs of our brothers and sisters have been denied work and wages under MGREGS due to the stoppage of central funds to West Bengal Since March, 2022,” he wrote in the letter.
Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress government have been protesting against the Centre for the release of the funds.
She announced last week that the state government would pay the pending wages of 21 lakh workers by February 21.
“The state government will clear the dues of 21 lakh MGNREGA workers, whose wages have been kept pending by the central government for the past two years. Their wages will be transferred to their bank accounts by February 21,” Mamata Banerjee said in a statement.
In last December, Banerjee led a delegation that met PM Modi over the alleged delay.
A ten-member delegation, including our MPs, met the PM today. I urged the PM to release the funds due to the state. He said there will be joint meetings between officials from the Centre and West Bengal on this,” the CM had said.
Gandhi’s expression of solidarity with the state government comes weeks after Banerjee announced that her Trinamool Congress will contest the general elections alone in West Bengal.
Banerjee later slammed Gandhi’s Congress, saying it will not even win 40 Lok Sabha seats.
“I doubt if you (Congress) will win 40. I was offering two seats and would have let them win. But they wanted more. I said okay, contest on all 42 then. Rejected! There has been no conversation with them since,” she had said.
Despite the continuous sniping, the Congress has been trying to assuage her anger.
Earlier this month, Rahul Gandhi said Banerjee was still a member of the INDIA alliance.
“Mamata (Banerjee) is very much part of the INDIA alliance and most of the other members who are part of the INDIA alliance are still members of the INDIA alliance…Nitish Kumar has left the alliance and he’s gone to the BJP. You can guess as to what the reasons are for him leaving. That’s fine. We’ll fight in Bihar as the INDIA alliance. So I don’t agree that lots of our partners are not part of the alliance,” he said.
The INDIA bloc is facing an existential crisis as many regional players, including Banerjee, Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal have announced that they will contest the elections alone.
With inputs from ANI, PTI