New Delhi: The BJP in West Bengal has started a survey asking people questions about Mamata Banerjee government’s alleged mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis in the state.
As part of the survey, launched last week, the BJP has posed four questions — whether Mamata is hiding information related to the pandemic, are people from certain areas violating the lockdown because of Mamata’s ‘appeasement’ policy, who is responsible for people not getting ration and if people are suffering from the government’s low testing capacities.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said they have received 12,000 responses so far.
Questions on migrant crisis and economic emergency will be added to the survey soon, he said.
“We have asked people to answer these questions and register protest because we are repeatedly raising questions on the state’s low testing figures and fudging of Covid-19 numbers. We are not the only one raising questions, even doctors’ associations have raised questions on the state government’s Covid figures. The inter-ministerial central team also questioned the chief minister’s handling (of the crisis),” Ghosh told ThePrint.
“From March to April, the state said it had 200 cases, but in the last ten days, after the Centre’s intervention, now the dashboard is showing 1,344 cases,” Ghosh said.
“Mamata is still playing with the health of the poor. We want people to put pressure on Mamata. This is the tip of the iceberg. Every state government is fighting to save lives but Mamata is fighting to save her image and hide numbers,” he added.
As of Wednesday, Bengal has 1,047 active Covid-19 cases and 1,456 confirmed cases, with 144 deaths (including those caused by comorbidities), according to the state government bulletin.
West Bengal has the highest mortality rate in the country at 13.2 per cent.
‘Scam’ in ration distribution
The issue of ration distribution is a major bone of contention between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP.
The BJP even held demonstrations last Friday in Ranaghat against an alleged attempt to “steal” a truckload of rice sent by the Centre and pass off the food grain as state relief.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, free rice of 5 kg and pulses of 1 kg every month is to be distributed among the poor, but the opposition and even Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar have alleged a scam in the public distribution system (PDS).
“Under Pradhan Mantri Grib Kalyan Ann Yojna FREE RATION is available for THREE MONTHS -5 kg rice per person and 1 kg dal for each household per month. Worrisome distribution reports. Officials need to distance from politics and keep diversion/siphon sharks away,” tweeted Dhankhar Wednesday.
The state government has show-caused 359 ration dealers and suspended 64 so far for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices while distributing food grains.
“We are raising this issue of malpractices for the last 15 days. Government officials and Trinamool workers siphoned off free ration, which was meant for the poor. We have demanded investigation into this loot of ration,” Ghosh told ThePrint.
‘Discrepancies’ in Covid data
BJP general secretary and in-charge of West Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya Tuesday wrote a letter to the chief minister, highlighting discrepancy in the government’s Covid-19 bulletins.
“The government is coming out with a much detailed bulletin since Monday, but the data it is providing to people still has a lot of discrepancies,” he said.
“Alipurduar district has been shown to have zero cases but health officials confirm 4 cases. Districts like Murshidabad, North Dinajpur have a high number of Tablighi returnees and migrant labourers but the health bulletin showing zero cases is really surprising,” he wrote in the letter.
‘World is fighting Covid, Mamata fighting BJP’
On Tuesday, the chief minister said that 5.57 crore household visits have been conducted over the last one month and “given necessary health advice”.
“During the period from 7 April to 3 May, over 5.57 crore household visits have been conducted. 872 cases of persons with SARI (severe acute respiratory illness) and 91,515 cases of persons with ILI (influenza-like illness) have been identified and given necessary health advice,” she said.
But Vijayvargiya contested the claims, saying: “This is another lie by the inefficient chief minister. No one knows about this screening except Mamata Banerjee. She is jeopardising people’s lives. What purpose will she achieve by concealing Covid-19 positive numbers?”
State BJP leader Rahul Sinha told ThePrint: “Our MPs are in house arrest for months now. They have not been allowed to move out from their house, only TMC workers and their MPs and MLAs have permission to provide relief work in this pandemic. The whole world is fighting Covid but Mamata is fighting with the BJP workers. This is strange.”
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