Addressing his first public rally of the season in West Bengal, an otherwise calm Rahul Gandhi took on Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee on her home ground.
The Congress vice-president lashed out at the West Bengal chief minister and countered her allegations of the Centre not allocating the state enough funds.
Attacking the government for the lack of development in Bengal, Rahul said money never reached the people despite crores of rupees being sent to the state.
“We sent crores of rupees to the West Bengal government. The money does not belong to ministers and MLAs. It is your money, but it does not reach your hands,” Rahul said, reminding many of his father Rajiv Gandhi’s statement that only around 20 paisa of every sanctioned rupee reached the beneficiary it was meant for.
Rahul’s attack came in the backdrop of repeated allegations by Mamata that the Central government was taking away large chunk of funds from the state in the form of interest on loans.
On Monday, state Finance Minister Amit Mitra alleged that the Centre deprived Bengal of over Rs 86,000 crore since 2011. Rahul, however, was silent on the moratorium on loan repayment the Bengal government has been demanding for the last three years, since the Trinamool came to power.
Gandhi spoke of how the people of West Bengal had removed a Communist government so that a new one would fight for them and work for the poor. “But the Trinamool government is doing the same thing against which the people fought,” he said. He also said that there was hardly any development in West Bengal since the TMC came to power in 2011.
Criticising the state’s infrastructure, he said that the roads he travelled by were in such a bad shape that it took him 15-20 minutes for a two-minute journey to reach a venue in Jalpaiguri, where he addressed a party workers’ meeting.