PM Modi, Mamata Banerjee lock horns over farmers’ issue

PM Modi, Mamata Banerjee lock horns over farmers’ issue

Mamata said that PM Modi was trying to 'mislead the people with half-truths and distorted facts'

A war of words ensued between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her government’s alleged refusal to implement the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme in the State.

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s allegation that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) was depriving the 70 lakh farmers of Bengal from the benefits of the scheme, Mamata said that he was trying to “mislead the people with half-truths and distorted facts.”

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“I personally have written two letters and have even spoken to the concerned Minister two days ago but they are refusing to cooperate and are instead indulging in malicious propaganda for political gains,” the Chief Ministers said in a statement.

Asserting that her government was always ready to co-operate with the Centre when regarding farmers’ interests, the Chief Minister said that while the state government was implementing so many schemes of the Centre the allegation of non-cooperation on a scheme for benefiting the farmers “seems absurd.”

She further alleged that the BJP-led government at the Centre was “used to indulging in politicking” even at the cost of violating established norms regarding the implementation of Central schemes by the state government.

She said that “lakhs of farmers” had hit the streets demanding the withdrawal of new farm laws which were “anti-farmer” as they threatened to dilute the minimum support price (MSP) and the state procurement system leaving farmers at the mercy of big private players.

The Chief Minister also said that the people of Bengal would give a “befitting reply” to those who were trying to malign the state and see through the “malicious propaganda.”

She further alleged that despite “all the posturing of the Central Government” it did nothing to help the State.

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“They are yet to release Rs 85,000 crore of outstanding dues that includes unpaid GST dues of Rs.8,000 crores. If he (Prime Minister) genuinely wants to help the State, he must release at least a part of these funds so that we are in a better position to address our needs,” stated Mamata.

Earlier the Chief Minister had conveyed it to the Centre that her government was ready to implement the scheme in Bengal if the fund was routed through the state government instead of being directly sent to the farmers.