Under opposition attack over the farm law issue, Home Minister Amit Shah retaliated in Bengal today, targeting the Mamata Banerjee government over its refusal of central funds under the PM-Kisan scheme. Ms Banerjee's government had refused to implement the scheme of direct cash transfer to farmers.
"You are supporting the farmers' protests, but your farmers are not receiving benefits. Farmers in the state didn't receive money given by Modi ji," Mr Shah said during an interaction with the media at the end of his two-day visit to the state.
Ms Banerjee, one of the staunchest critics of the BJP-led government, has been vociferous about the farm laws, suggesting that the BJP should either withdraw the farm laws or step down.
The Trinamool Congress chief has repeatedly said she supports the demands of farmers. In a series of tweets, she has even threatened to launch nationwide protests if the laws are not withdrawn.
"GOI must withdraw the anti-farmer bills. If they do not do so immediately we will agitate throughout the state and the country. From the very start, we have been strongly opposing these anti-farmer bills," she had said in one of the tweets.
The BJP is now retaliating with West Bengal's refusal for the direct cash benefit to farmers. The state had asked that the money - Rs 6,000 annually to each farmer - be routed through it. The centre had declined, saying it would destroy the spirit if direct benefit transfer if money is routed through state governments.
From BJP chief JP Nadda to West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar - all have criticised the Chief Minister over the issue in the recent days.
Mr Shah accused the Chief Minister on other counts as well. The Trinamool Congress government, he said, has destroyed the economy of the state.
"After independence, Bengal would contribute one-third to the GDP. It has fallen ever since. Bengal's contribution to industrial production right after independence was 30 per cent. Now it's at 3.5 per cent. In 1960, Bengal was one of the richest states in the country. In 1950s, Bengal produced 70 per cent pharma products. Now it is around 7 per cent. Bengal jute industries that gave employment to many are shut," Mr Shah said. "Our sankalp is to make Bengal Shonar Bangla once again".
He also expressed happiness about the induction of a large number of ex-Trinamool Congress leaders into the party.
"I heartily welcome Suvendu Adhikari to the BJP... When dynastic politics are at play, this is what happens," he said without naming Abhishek Banerjee, Mamata Banerjee's nephew whose rise within the party has triggered storm.