The "Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan", launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create work for migrants, has turned into a political hot weapon in West Bengal with Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee asking the prime minister on the exclusion of the state's 11 lakh returnees from the job scheme. The state BJP has pinned the blame on Trinamool Congress, saying that the state government did not supply data to the Centre in time.
The only response to the snowballing issue so far from the government came from Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee. He said, "The Centre has all data about migrant returning to Bengal. It knows how many train loads have returned. This is unprecedented."
In all, 116 districts in six states will benefit from the Rs 50,000 crore "Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan" that will last for 125 days.
Bengal is not one of the six states. Three of the beneficiary states are ruled by the BJP.
"Why have you blatantly ignored the concerns of 11 lakh migrant workers from Bengal who've recently returned to their homes. Why has WB been left out of the Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan? Why this apathy towards the people of Bengal," Mr Banerjee tweeted today.
That is not the only political twist.
24 hours before the Trinamool MP's tweet, Congress MP Mr Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is a bitter critic of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, had written to PM Modi asking exactly the same question.
"West Bengal is one of the major states in India which originates a large chunk of migrant works. I am astonished to not that not a single district in the state of West Bengal has been included in the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan," Mr Chowdhury wrote. He proposed that the number of districts entitled to be included in this programme be "reassessed".
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress leader in Lok Sabha writes to PM Narendra Modi over the incorporation of West Bengal under 'Garib Kalyaan Rojgar Yojana'. The letter states, "I am astonished to note that not a single district in West Bengal has been included in the scheme". pic.twitter.com/Vs7ZJRBjxD- ANI (@ANI) June 21, 2020
After his letter to the prime minister on Sunday, Mr Chowdhury wrote to Mamata Banerjee today, "asking her to underscore the need of this programme and press the central government for inclusion of Bengal" as early as possible.
The chief minister has not reacted to Bengal's missing status from the programme.
BJP leaders in Bengal have been quoted saying that the state did not provide the district wise list of migrant workers to the Centre. They are also pointing to the fact that Ms Mamata Banerjee has not allowed the implementation of Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Krishak Samman Nidhi programmes in West Bengal .
National general secretary Rahul Sinha said, "The Congress should stop supporting the Trinamool secretly in the state and ask the chief minister to also implement Ayushman Bharat."