File image: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on December 21 accused Home Minister Amit Shah of speaking untruth on the development of the state, describing the figures given by him on the position of the state on various parameters as "garbage of lies".
Speaking to reporters, the chief minister announced that she will visit the Birbhum district on December 28 for an official meeting, and also lead a roadshow the next day.
At a press conference in Bolpur on Sunday, Shah accused the Trinamool Congress government in the state of failing to deliver, claiming that West Bengal lags behind most states in the country on various parameters, except on corruption and extortion.
"I want to tell Amit-ji that you are the home minister and it does not suit you to shell out lies provided by your party workers without cross-checking," Banerjee said.
Maintaining that she will give a detailed reply to Shah's accusations on Tuesday, the chief minister said, "I will only speak on two things today, he said we are a zero in industry, we are number one in MSME."
"He also said that we have not constructed village roads, we are number one on that count too and this information has been shared by the Government of India," she added.
Banerjee told the press that she has evidence to disprove everything Shah said.
The chief minister said that she has written a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, reiterating the state's request to route the PM Kishan Samman Nidhi scheme funds through her government for disbursal among the farmers.
She had earlier written to the Union Agriculture Minister and the Union Health Minister, seeking that funds for the PM Kishan Samman Nidhi and Ayushman Bharat schemes be sent to the state government for disbursal among the beneficiaries in the state.
The West Bengal government is yet to implement either of the schemes.
Holding that more than 73 lakh farmers in the state are to benefit from the scheme, she requested the agriculture minister to arrange for the transfer of the PM-Kisan funds to the state government for disbursal.
Seeking an early decision on her request, she said that her letter states that after disbursement, a list of the beneficiaries would be sent to the central government.
Banerjee claimed that the TMC government is providing financial help to all farmers in the state, while the central scheme provides for only a section of them.
"I have already written to the Union agriculture minister to send the funds to the state treasury and we will disburse it to all. But, instead of doing that, in order to make political gains, they are bypassing the state government, which is the implementing authority of central schemes," she said, referring to her earlier letter in September.
"We never said we will not give the money to the farmers, but we wanted that the funds be routed through the state government," she said.
Banerjee said the state government's 'Swasthya Sathi' programme has been envisaged for the healthcare of all the 10 crore people of West Bengal, while the Centre's Ayushman Bharat scheme would have helped only 1.5 crore people of the state with 60 per cent financial participation.
Asserting that she will not accept any insult to Rabindranath Tagore, Banerjee said those who are questioning 'Jana Gana Mana' as the National Anthem, should know "it is a submission to the soil of the nation".
"If anyone feels that they will force their religion on others, then I am ready to give my blood but will not allow any such thing to happen that will insult the National Anthem or Rabindranath, Vivekananda, Subhas Chandra Bose, Gandhiji, Ambedkar, Birsa Munda, who are our country's pride," she said.
Amit Shah paid homage to Tagore at Rabindra Bhavan during his two-hour-long visit to the Visva-Bharati university in Shantiniketan on Sunday, describing it as a great fortune for him to have had the opportunity.
Banerjee said that her party has been opposing the CAA since the BJP-led NDA government passed it in Parliament.
"We are against NPR, NRC... We will fight the battle and we will not allow any people to go out of the country," she said, aadding that all the people of Bengal are recognised and are citizens of India.