West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee started her political career with Congress (I) during the early 1970s. Ending the uninterrupted 34-year rule of the Left in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee made history when she was sworn in as the first woman Chief Minister of the state. Her political journey has, however, not been easy. Instead, it has been plagued with myriad lies.
With all eyes set on the high-octane 2021 West Bengal Assembly Elections, popular Twitter user @BefittingFacts revisited the top 25 lies that the West Bengal CM has peddled in her long political career.
In this article, we elaborate on the 25 lies listed in the video and delve into their details.
1. The bogus PhD degree from a University that never existed
Until 1991 Mamata Banerjee claimed to have obtained a PhD degree from “East Georgia University” in the United States. It was later found that no such university existed and she stopped mentioning this degree subsequently.
According to reports, in the run-up to the 1984 elections, as per the video, Mamata Banerjee prefixed her name with ‘Dr’, claiming that she had completed her doctorate. Reportedly, the walls of Jadavpur, from where Banerjee contested the seat, were painted with “Dr Mamata Banerjee”. After it came to light that the University from which Banerjee had putatively completed her PhD did not exist, she stopped prefixing her name with the ‘Dr’ title.
In 1985, the then Congress MP from Jadavpur Mamata Banerjee stood exposed when the United States Educational Foundation in India proclaimed that there did not exist an institution named ‘The University of East Georgia’ from where she had claimed to have allegedly completed her doctorate.
2. Mamata Banerjee’s ‘coup’ charge at the Indian Army
In 2016, Mamata Banerjee accused the Indian army of staging a ‘coup’ in her state. That year, when the Army was doing a training exercise across the state, the Mamata Banerjee government created a furore.
Mamata Banerjee claimed the Army soldiers being present at the toll plazas in the state was suspicious. She further claimed that the Army was carrying out ‘political vendetta’ and that the Army had sent its officials to her state without her permission.
The matter was blown to such proportions that it even created a ruckus in the parliament. Mamata Banerjee remained at the state secretariat overnight in protest.
Finally, the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar clarified that the presence of the Army cadre at the toll plazas was a part of a routine ‘impressment exercise’ carried out almost every year. The Army released a letter written to the WB CM informing her about the same. It was exposed how the Army had sent 4 documents to the WB Govt which the latter returned, duly signed and stamped, acknowledging the routine exercise.
The Kolkata police had also written to the Army asking them not to conduct the exercise, which, indeed backed the Army’s claim that the Mamata Banerjee government was informed about the joint exercise.
3. MEA dismissed Mamata Banerjee’s claims over her Chicago trip
Taking a potshot at the Modi government, the TMC supremo had in 2018 alleged that the central government threatened the Ramakrishna Mission, forcing it to cancel her trip to Chicago to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekanandas historic speech there.
Her own office had, however, exposed her lie after it informed that Ramakrishna Mission itself had cancelled the program due to the sudden death of a monk of the Ramakrishna Mission, Belur math.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had also dismissed reports that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was denied permission to visit Chicago to attend the World Hindu conference. MEA Spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar confirmed that the government had not, in fact, received any request for clearance for her visit.
4. 2014 Burdawan bomb blast staged by BJP government, claimed Mamata Banerjee
On 2nd October 2014, a powerful bomb accidentally went off on the first floor of a rented house in Khagragarh locality of Burdwan, West Bengal. Incidentally, that building also housed a TMC office on its ground floor. Two terrorists, who were making the bomb succumbed to the injuries. While the case was initially probed by West Bengal police, the same was later taken over by NIA on 10th October 2014.
Then, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a frontal attack on the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of stage-managing the October 2 Burdwan blast with the objective of triggering riots in the state.
Soon after the blast, Mamata Banerjee had blamed the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the foreign intelligence agency of India, for being behind the blast. She had alleged that the two terrorists were ‘let in’ by the Modi government which had just come to power few months back and ‘found them a house’ and ‘allowed them to make explosives’. She had alleged that the Central government had done so to start a riot during the Pujo.
Mamata Banerjee was proved wrong when NIA revealed that Bangladesh-based terror groups, Al-Jihad and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were behind the 2014 Burdawan blast and sentenced JMB chief Kausar to 29 years in jail.
5. Park Street gang rape case
An Anglo-Indian woman named Suzette Jordan was raped in a moving car by five men on February 6, 2012, when she was returning home from Park Street in Kolkata.
Soon after the news surfaced, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had absolved the accused of all charges. She had dubbed the incident as ‘shajano ghotona‘ (concocted incident) that was allegedly ‘designed to malign the government.’
While speaking to a news channel, TMC MP Kakoli Ghose Dhastidar had cast aspersions on the character of the victim calling her a ‘sex worker’. She had also ruled out the rape angle.
Later, after public outrage, Mamata Banerjee was seen taking a U-turn. She transferred Kolkata’s joint commissioner of police (Crime) Ms Damayanti Sen, who had cracked the infamous Park Street gang rape case within four days of the accused being arrested.
Moreover, she ousted Sarbani Roy from the post of public prosecutor in the Park Street gang rape case after accusing her of going beyond her jurisdiction and acting without consulting the government.
6. Mamata’s lie over Anna Hazare’s no-show at rally
In a bid to enhance her national significance, WB CM Mamata Banerjee had organised a joint rally with social activist Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Grounds in the National Capital in 2014. The CM was, however, left red-faced after Anna Hazare decided to skip the rally citing ill-health. However, the fact was that Hazare had backed out since the supposed joint rally was sparsely attended.
To save, herself from the embarrassment, Mamata lied that the rally was actually organised at the insistence of the anti-corruption crusader. “It was not our rally. It was organised at the insistence of Annaji. It was not a Trinamool Congress rally,” the West Bengal Chief Minister told a news channel.
Responding to Mamata Banerjee, Hazare then cleared that he had skipped the ‘joint’ rally here with the Trinamool Congress chief because even 4000 people had not come to attend it and he had been misled.
The truth was further revealed when the Delhi Municipal corporation receipt surfaced. It showed that the Ramlila Ground was actually booked by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress party.
7. Vidyasagar statue row
In 2019, a political ball-game kickstarted after news started pouring in that status of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar at Vidyasagar College in North Kolkata was vandalized by miscreants. Both, TMC and BJP began blaming each other for the incident.
The truth was that in the clashes which ensued following an attack on BJP President Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata, a statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalized by miscreants in Vidyasagar College in Kolkata.
After the incident, Mamata Banerjee began accusing the BJP of causing violence although it was evidently started by the Trinamool. Mamata Banerjee had then presented a certain individual with his hand wrapped up in bandages in front of the press. She claimed that the BJP karyakarta’s injured Tirtha Pratim Saha, a student leader of the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad.
Much to the embarrassment of Mamata Banerjee, Tirtha Pratim Saha, himself admitted that he was actually injured a few days ago. It was soon proven that Mamata Banerjee had created a fake victim to peddle the premeditated regional chauvinism narrative to counter BJP’s rise in the state.
8. ‘Never captured CPI-M offices’: Mamata Banerjee
Though over the years, the TMC supremo has enjoyed the overwhelming support of her voters in the state, the fear to lose to the formidable popularity of BJP has probably compelled her to resort to endless lies and deceit. When the West Bengal CM was in her 8th year of power in the state she claimed that in these years, her party has not even captured a single party office belonging to CPI-M.
This was a blatant lie. Until 2011, there were many party offices which belonged to the CPI(M). However, after the loss of the Left Front to the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress, these were taken over by the TMC and its twin flowers were painted on their walls.
After the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, when BJP made successful inroads in the state, CPI-M recaptured 150 of its offices in West Bengal which, it alleged, had been taken over forcibly by the ruling Trinamool Congress after the Left was ousted from power in the state in 2011.
Party offices in Bankura, Purulia, Coochbihar, Bardhaman, Hoogly, North 24 Parganas and Howrah among others were not only retaken by the CPI(M) cadres, but the party symbol was also painted on them and party flags were seen flying atop the buildings.
9. Mamata Banerjee’s MGNREGA lie
In 2013, two years into office, Mamata Banerjee made big claims of development, especially about providing 100 days of work to unemployed adults under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Her government claimed that the state topped the chart in 2012-13 with the implementation of projects worth Rs 4475.80 crore, which is the highest in the country and generated employment for 57.76 lakh families.
TMC government’s ad in a local newspaper made tall claims of topping the development scale.
This also turned out to be nothing but a deception. The national statistics then suggested that West Bengal ranked 24th on the list. The then Union Minister of State for Urban Development Deepa Dasmunsi had said in a statement: “The state has ranked 24th on the list, whereas the (Trinamool) government very boastfully claimed otherwise. It easily nailed the lie of the state administration as they are misleading people with wrong information ahead of the panchayat elections”.
The national statistics also suggested that West Bengal dipped to the 35th position in the list in the year 2019.
So, contrary to the lie peddled by Mamata Banerjee about topping the MGNREGA chart, there has been an unprecedented growth of unemployment under the TMC rule. Between October 2016 to 2020, unemployment in West Bengal has grown by an astounding 217 per cent.
West Bengal also always has the highest percentage of delayed MGNREGA payments and it is plagued by TMC’s cut-money across the state, where workers are forced to pay hefty sums to avail work under the scheme.
10. Mamata Banerjee lies about starvation deaths in Bengal
In 2018, reports of deaths of seven Sabar community members in Lalgarh in West Bengal’s Jhargram district, allegedly due to scarcity of food, had drawn sharp criticism for the Mamata government.
To save her own skin, Mamata refuted these reports saying that no one died due to starvation. The deaths were either due to “age-related ailments” or “excessive liquor consumption”, said the West Bengal CM.
“The reports that people from Sabar community have died due to starvation were absolutely false and fabricated. No one has died in Bengal due to starvation,” she said in the state Assembly.
“People have died in Jungle Mahal due to excessive consumption of liquor or age-related ailments. While two people have died of illness and old age, others have died due to liver problems caused by excessive consumption of liquor,” she added.
However, a survey conducted then had busted the TMC supremo’s claims. The report suggested that there was indeed a “food scarcity in varying degrees” in about 31% of tribal households in the state of West Bengal, which means almost one-third of the tribal population in the state are malnourished and starved.
The report added that amongst the surveyed tribal households in the year, out of the 52 deaths, shockingly, 48 people died a premature death while only 4 died due to old age.
11. The overused fake news about Narendra Modi promising to deliver Rs 15 lakhs in the bank accounts of every citizen
Like every other opposition party, Mamata Banerjee has time and again attacked the BJP government by falsely claiming that the Central Govt promised to deliver Rs. 15 lakhs in the bank accounts of every citizen. In fact, in January 2020, to wriggle out of her predicaments amid the Coronavirus crisis, she attacked the central government by once again raking up the same overused and fatigued fake news.
During her rant, Mamata Banerjee reiterated how that Narendra Modi promised to deliver Rs 15 lakhs in the bank accounts of every citizen. She went a step ahead and claimed that the central government itself had announced that the said amount would be delivered in the back account of every citizen.
In reality, the Prime Minister never made such a promise. While speaking about Black Money stashed abroad, he had only said rhetorically that the amount stashed abroad is so large that if the Indian government could succeed in bringing back all of that, then every citizen would get 15 lakh rupees in their account.
12. Mamata’s lies over the coronavirus vaccines
Ahead of the 2021 state Assembly elections, the West Bengal chief minister accused the Modi government of sitting over her request to vaccinate all. She said that her government was ready to vaccinate the people of the state for free, but the central government was not providing the state with adequate doses of vaccination.
“A month back, before the elections, I had written to the Prime Minister. We want to vaccinate all people in Bengal at our own cost…but they have not allowed us”, said Mamata Banerjee in an evident claimed to impress her voters.
This claim only added to the list of umpteen lies peddled by the Bengal CM over the years. The central government cleared that West Bengal had been supplied with over 52.9 lakh vaccine doses, of which only 30.8 lakh had been used up to that time.
13. Mamata says BJP broke Bihar poll manifesto promise of free vaccines
Last year, Mamata Banerjee accused BJP of breaking its Bihar poll manifesto promise. She said that in the run-up to the Bihar Assembly election, BJP had promised to give free COVID vaccines for the state’s people if they came back to power, but it was only a gimmick for political gains, she claimed.
However, it turned out that Mamata Banerjee was lying blatantly again. The Bihar government announced in March 2021, that the state government had decided to bear the entire cost of the coronavirus vaccination even at the private hospitals in the state. Basically, taking its poll promise to provide free vaccine to all, the cabinet approved the proposal of the Bihar government to provide free vaccine to all the people of the state and Mamata Banerjee was once again left red-faced.
14. Mamata Banerjee claims vaccines of Dengue and Malaria are given free in Bengal
The Chief Minister of West Bengal, while addressing a rally in Jhargram ahead of West Bengal elections, misleadingly claimed that vaccines of Dengue and Malaria are given free in West Bengal.
Taking a jibe at PM Narendra Modi Mamata Banerjee said in Jhargram: “I say give COVID injections to common people, but till Central government does not give permission, nothing can happen. I am saying to you (referring to Narendra Modi) that give me the coronavirus vaccine, I will pay for it; so that I can make the coronavirus vaccine available for everyone for free”.
Today, if we can give free vaccines for polio, malaria, and dengue, we can also give Covishield,” she added.
Interestingly, this turned out to be one of Mamata’s major faux pas as no government in the world has by far provided any vaccines for Dengue or Malaria.
According to the National Health Mission, the government of India started the Immunization Programme in 1978, intending to protect the children from preventable life-threatening conditions.
Under this immunization programme, the government presently provides the following vaccines to children and newborns: BCG vaccines, Hepatitis B vaccines, Rotavirus vaccines, oral poliovirus vaccines, inactivated Polio Vaccine, Pentavalent vaccine (which protects from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B), Measles vaccine, Vitamin A, DPT Vaccine (which protects against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus), Tetanus Vaccine. However, as claimed by none other than the West Bengal CM, no other vaccines like Dengue and Malaria are provided by any government.
15. You are a citizen only if your name is on the voter’s list
Every time the West Bengal Chief Minister has gone on her mindless rant against the central government she has outdone her self. While addressing a rally in the state, Mamata had claimed that if a person does not cast his or her vote, Modi will strike off their name from the voter’s list and claim that they are not Indian citizens, she said.
“Just ensure your names are there in the voters’ list. The rest will be taken care of by me,” she said, adding, “no one will have to leave the country.”
This was, however, a white lie, promulgated by the TMC supremo to degrade the central leadership and to woo her voters. In reality there is no such rule. Whether a not a person votes, the voter identification card will never get cancelled.
16. Mamata Banerjee spreads misinformation on Centre’s ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme
While pulling out from Centre’s ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme, the West Bengal CM had falsely claimed that 40 percent of the funds for the Ayushman scheme will have to be borne by the patients themselves.
Here too, with a sole aim to berate Modi and his flagship health insurance scheme, Mamata had gone on to trump-up a story which was anything but true.
The fact is that the PradhanMantri Jan ArogyaYojana (AB-PMJAY), deemed the largest in the world, to provide free health insurance to India’s poor and marginalised families, is a centrally sponsored scheme.
Under this scheme, the Modi government seeks to provide 10.74 crore poor households across India a reimbursement of up to ₹5 lakh per year towards the hospitalisation expenses of their family members. Apart from the expenses on in-patient treatment, the scheme also covers pre-and post-hospitalisation costs to some extent
Most importantly, the ratio of contribution towards premium between Centre and State is 60:40 in all States except the North Eastern States and the three Himalayan States, where the ratio is 90:10. This means, that the 40 per cent premium which Mamata claims had to be borne by the patients does not hold grounds. The patient has to only pay Rs 30 for an application form, that too is free for gold cardholders.
Amusingly, soon after Mamata made this bizarre accusation on the central government, she herself was caught in her own web of lies. In January 2019 she announced that she had decided to pull out from Centre’s ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme, accusing PM Modi of taking full credit for the scheme and ignoring State’s contribution. ANI had reported Mamata Banerjee as then saying: “My state will not contribute 40% of the funds for the Ayushman scheme. Centre has to pay the full amount if Centre wants to run the scheme”.
The point here is that if, according to her, the patients have to bear 40% of the premium, why did she say that her state would not contribute 40% of the funds for the Ayushman scheme and asked the Centre to pay the full amount?
17. Politics over the cyclonic storm Fani that wreaked havoc in WB in 2019
The West Bengal CM did not even shy away from using a natural disaster to cast aspersions on the Modi government. In 2019, while the people of Odisha and West Bengal were grappling to cope with the devastation caused by Cyclone Fani, Mamata Banerjee had tried to create a political controversy over the cyclone when she had alleged that the PM, while he visited Odisha, had not called her.
She had hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for calling West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi instead of talking to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to inquire about the ground situation in the wake of cyclone Fani, and alleged Modi doesn’t respect the federal structure of the country.
However, her claims were soon refuted by the PMO and it was revealed that PM Modi had attempted to speak to Mamata Banerjee twice to access the cyclone situation in the state, but the Bengal CM had not returned his calls.
18. Politics over cyclone Amphan
In May 2020, when cyclone Amphan hit the state of West Bengal, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had attempted to cast the Modi government in an unprepossessing light, apathetic to the plight of victims of the cyclone.
She had claimed that Bengal got no financial assistance from the central leadership. While PM Modi said in clear and lucid terms that the centre will be extending an “advance assistance” of Rs 1000 crore for West Bengal to cope with the devastation caused by the cyclone, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee appeared to deliberately muddle the discourse by claiming that there was no clarity on the announcement made by the Prime Minister.
The fact is that apart from the emergency financial aid of Rs 1,000 crore given in advance to West Bengal to tide over the destruction caused in the state by Cyclone Amphan, the Modi government had also approved additional financial assistance of Rs 2707.77 crores for Cyclone Amphan survivors under the National Disaster Response Fund.
19. Mamata Banerjee spread fake news about Shramik train
The TMC chief, a strident critic of the Modi government, had discredited the Shramik trains service that the government has started to transport migrants back to their home states with lies and conjectures. She had slammed the Railways for sending ‘corona express’ to her state. “We are paying for 235 trains but then why are two to three people being made to sit on one seat? The railways, in the name of Shramik Special trains, are running ‘Corona Express’ trains. The people are calling these trains ‘Corona Express.”
However, the truth was that Indian Railways has issued a set of guidelines for its zones for running the Shramik special trains to ferry stranded people, saying the trains would operate at 90 per cent occupancy. It had also specified that each Shramik Special train would be a non-stop train bound for a single destination. It also said that the train with full length composition with social distancing (not counting the inside middle berths) can carry approximately 1200 passengers each.
20. Mamata lies, says never called ‘Shramik’ trains ‘Corona Express’
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in June last year, denied having called the ‘Shramik Special’ trains, which ferried migrant labourers back home during the lockdown as “Corona Express”, as alleged by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and insisted the name was given by people to crammed-to-capacity trains.
Her comments came a day after Shah, addressing a virtual rally for West Bengal, accused Banerjee of “insulting” migrant workers returning to the state on Shramik Special trains by calling them ‘Corona Express’.
“More than 11 lakh migrants have returned to Bengal. I never called the migrant special trains ‘Corona Express’. The common people gave them that name,” she told reporters.
21. Mamata’s Durga Puja Rs 50,000 bonanza
Mamata announced Rs 50,000 financial grant for puja organisers in 2020. Soon the High Court rapped up the TMC government for providing the Durga Puja bonanza to organisers. Slamming the Mamata govt for spending public money on organizing entertainment events or festivals, the court asked the state if guidelines had been laid down for such expenditures.
The state administration had then told the court that the grant was meant to help increase public awareness about Covid-19 protocols, and purchase of sanitisers and masks.
22. Mamata Banerjee claimed PM Modi endorsed Trump for President
Mamata had attempted to spread lies that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had during the mega event held in Houston, Texas, endorsed President Trump for the 2020 US Presidential elections.
Contrary to the claims made by the TMC chief saying that Prime Minister Modi had endorsed Donald Trump for the US Presidential elections, PM Modi had never endorsed or tried to interfere in the 2020 US elections.
At the mega ‘Howdy Modi’ event held in Houston in September last year, Texas, Prime Minister Modi had reminded the audience as to how during the 2016 US Presidential campaigning, Donald Trump had said ‘Abki Baar Trump Sarkar’ while appealing to Indian diaspora in the US.
While addressing the Indian diaspora in the US, Prime Minister Modi had recalled the above campaign slogan by Trump, contrary to the claim that he was endorsing Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 US elections.
23. Mamata Banerjee’s politics over PM Cares Fund
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has time and again accused the Centre of using central agencies to bulldoze the country’s federal structure and sought to know where is the money of Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) fund.
However, the fact is that the PM CARES Fund Trust has allocated Rs 2000 crore for supply of 50000 ‘Made-in-India’ ventilators to government run COVID hospitals in all States/UTs. Further, a sum of Rs. 1000 crore has been allocated for the welfare of migrant labourers. And interestingly, out of this 1000 crores, West Bengal has been allotted Rs 53 crore grant.
24. Mamata claims of not receiving any assistance from central govt to deal with coronavirus in the state
The Trinamool Congress on November 28, 2020 claimed that the Mamata Banerjee administration has so far spent Rs 4,000 crore on COVID-19 management in West Bengal and has not received any assistance from the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre to deal with the pandemic situation.
The truth is, however, far from these fake claims made by the TMC supremo. The West Bengal government had received Rs 505 crores in April 2020 under the State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF) to take measures for the containment of the pandemic. Besides the WB Govt also received 1000 ventilators under the PM Care scheme.
25. Modi govt did nothing for WB in the last six years, claims Mamata Banerjee
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has claimed TMC ushered in a new era of development in West Bengal and accused the BJP government at the Centre of not doing enough for the state in the last six years. But the truth is that Mamata Banerjee has for all this while craftily been rechristening the Center’s welfare schemes with Bengali names to take credit.
For example, the Mamata Government dropped “Pradhan Mantri” from the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana scheme. She rechristened the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna scheme to Banglar Awas Yojna. Moreover, she renamed Swacha Bharat Abhiyan to Nirmal Bangla, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana as Anandadhara, Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana as Bangla Griha Prakalpa and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana as Sabar Ghare Alo which translates to lights in everyone’s home.
Speaking about the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna scheme, the cost of unit assistance is shared between Central and State Government in the ratio 60:40. Moreover, if you visit the West Bengal government site all specifications under the Banglar Awas Yojna is the same as the central government’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna.
In WB, more than 1 crore BPL holders have got LPG under the central govt’s Ujjwala Yojana. Moreover, funds allotted by the central govt under Swacha Bharat Abhiyan has been utilised by the Mamata govt for its Mission Nirmal Bangla.
The road that leads up to 2nd May 2021, when the results of the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections would be declared has been littered with TMC chief, Mamata Banerjee’s, lies. Now, it would be interesting to watch whether these lies peddled by Mamata Banerjee would actually help her achieve her goals or BJP would create history by putting an end to her years of undefeated reign. Only time can tell.