Public health crisis stares at Bengal: BJP

Huge public health crisis stares at Bengal due to Mamata's vote bank politics: BJP

Banerjee has, in turn, accused the central authorities of working at the behest of the BJP and rejected charges levelled against her dispensation. (Credit: AFP Photo)

Accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of playing "vote bank politics", the BJP on Wednesday claimed that a huge public health crisis is staring at the state because of her "abject" failure to impose an effective lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

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In a hard-hitting letter to the Trinamool Congress president, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya alleged that members of Muslim community have "disdainfully violated the lockdown throwing caution to the wind" because of her "shameful appeasement politics".

Vijayvargiya, who is his party's in-charge of the state affairs, accused Banerjee of "political retribution" against BJP leaders in West Bengal and said that instead of fighting the pandemic, she has taken a "confrontationist" stand against the prime minister and the state's governor due to her "dirty politics".

He also claimed that the testing for the coronavirus has been "grossly and shamefully inadequate" in the state and cited the high infection rate to claim that the real situation could be grave and lead to a huge public health crisis.

Her government has been "manipulating" coronavirus death figures, he alleged.

The BJP and the TMC have been engaged in a bitter war of words over the coronavirus situation in the state, with the saffron party accusing the state government of under-reporting the number of cases and deaths caused by it.

Banerjee has, in turn, accused the central authorities of working at the behest of the BJP and rejected charges levelled against her dispensation.

The assembly polls are due in the state in the first half of the next year, heightening the political battle between the TMC, in power for nine years, and its main challenger which fancies its chances against Banerjee after putting up a strong fight against her party in the last year's Lok Sabha elections.

In his six-page letter Vijayvargiya said, "Mamata ji, there will be a time to fight the BJP. That time will be forthcoming local body elections and next year assembly elections.... This is the time to fight coronavirus."

Also Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases, deaths

Accusing her of pursuing "vote bank politics", the BJP leader cited the alleged attack on police personnel in Howrah by a group of Muslims.

"On April 28, the nation saw how the Muslim community went berserk attacking the police force in Tikiyapara in Howrah, which was just doing its job trying to enforce the lockdown. This shameful incident has caused grievous and irreparable harm to the morale of state police.

"As of now, there is not even a whimper of hope that the government will act against those who attacked the police force. It is high time that you stop the vote bank politics and immediately act against those who attacked the police force," the BJP leader said.

Quoting figures from various states, he said in neighbouring Jharkhand and Assam, the number of cases is not high and they also have a very good ratio of recovering patients.

Even accounting for your attempts to "massage" the real data from Bengal, the state does not boast of such good recovery rates, he said.

"Is human death mere statistic to you? The day when you announced 18 deaths in West Bengal, your officers admitted in front of the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) sent by the central government that the real number was 57," he added.

He also cited several incidents to claim that her government has been targeting BJP leaders, including MPs and MLAs, by lodging FIRs and taking other coercive actions so as not to allow them to undertake relief works.

"On the other hand, your party workers are looting ration meant for poor citizens," he alleged and slammed her for playing "dirty politics" while people were suffering due to the pandemic.