Rejecting Union Home Minister Amit Shah's accusation that West Bengal had fared abysmally on development indices under the present dispensation, the ruling Trinamool Congress said on Tuesday that attempts are being made to create a false narrative about the state.
Ruling out the charges levelled by the Union minister, senior TMC leader Saugata Roy mentioned the state's impressive performance in GDP, industrial output, per capita income, construction of rural roads among others.
At a press conference in Bolpur on Sunday, Shah had accused the Trinamool Congress (TMC) 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. Countering the charge levelled by Shah that TMC workers had misused funds meant for Amphan relief, Roy said, the state was yet to receive Rs 32,310 crore earmarked for the SDRF (State Disaster Relief Force) from the Centre.
Claiming that election strategist Prashant Kishor has so far helped political parties win polls in five states, Roy said, the TMC believes, the figures predicted by the poll consultant in his tweets on Monday that the BJP will not cross the two-digit figure in the West Bengal assembly elections are correct.
Kishor has been roped in by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee to boost her party's prospects in the state assembly polls likely in April-May next year.
"We support his tweets, he is the election strategist of our party," Roy told reporters at the TMC headquarters here.
Asked whether Kishor was taking crucial decisions about the TMC's affairs, Roy said that he is an advisor and gives his opinions as a consultant, while decisions are taken by the party leadership.
"Prashant Kishor had similarly advised Narendra Modi during his campaign in 2014 Lok Sabha polls," the TMC MP quipped. Speaking on the performance of West Bengal, Roy said, the state's GDP has increased by 53 per cent, from Rs 4.51 lakh crore to Rs 6.9 lakh crore in the last 10 years. Contrary to Shah's claim that industrial output in the state has decreased to 3.5 per cent, it has increased by 60 per cent, the TMC leader said.
The per capita income in West Bengal which was Rs 51,543 in 2010 has increased to Rs 1.09 lakh in 2019, Roy said, noting that it is higher than Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Roy also rubbished the union minister's claim of the jute industry of the state passing through bad times.
"Most of the mills are open and the state government has decided to buy 7 crore gunny bags and use of such sacks have been made mandatory for storing rice," he said.
The TMC MP mentioned that industrial development of the state is 3.1 per cent, which he said, is five times that of the national average in 2019-20.
"In the service sector, they pointed out that the state's growth stood at 5.8 per cent, while we are saying that it has increased by 62 per cent," Roy said.
The TMC MP claimed that since 2011, electricity connection has reached 90 lakh households.
"In the last one decade, 1.18 lakh kilometre rural roads have been built," he said, denying Shah's assertion about lack of growth in village road infrastructure in the state.
Roy claimed that FDI in the state has increased 24 times between 2016 and 2018.
The budgetary expenditure in the health sector has increased three times from Rs 3,442 crore in 2010-11 to Rs Rs 11,280 crore now, denying Shah's assertion that healthcare infrastructure in the state was in poor condition.
The health portfolio is held by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"West Bengal ranks on the top in the country in terms of the number of hospital beds at 85,627, while the number of doctors has increased from 4,800 to 15,338, registering a 219 per cent jump," he said, adding that the number of nurses have also increased by 51 per cent.
In the education sector, he said that 30 new universities have been set up during the TMC regime since 2011, taking the total to 42 such institutions, while 50 new colleges have also come up.
Roy claimed that more than 1.87 lakh new classrooms have come up in the state since 2011.
With regard to the accusation that people of the state are losing health care benefits under the central government's Ayushman Bharat project, he said that under the state's Swasthya Sathi programme, 1.4 crore families in the state get an annual health insurance benefit of Rs 5 lakh.
On the allegation that criminal activities have been institutionalised in West Bengal, the TMC MP said that crime against women has decreased by 21 per cent between 2014-2019 in West Bengal.
"NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) has declared Kolkata as the safest city in the country for two consecutive years," Roy said.
He claimed that the BJP is speaking about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Viveknananda with an eye on the coming elections in West Bengal.
"The RSS or the Hindu Mahasabha did not have any role in the nation's freedom struggle. Even Syamaprasad (Mookerjee) did not go to jail during the freedom movement," the TMC MP said.
Documents relating to Netaji, which are in the National Archives, have not yet been released by the central government despite the chief minister's demand, he said.