West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee skipped yet another meeting of the Chief Ministers called by the Prime Minister to review the alarming Coronavirus situation in the country. The PM held a conference of the CMs via video conference to discuss various aspects related to the current situation, especially the shortage of oxygen that several states are facing.
According to reports, West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay represented the state at the review meeting in place of the CM. With this, she maintained her record of not attending a single meeting on Covid-19 in the last three months.
However, while Mamata Banerjee didn’t attend the meeting and she was represented by the Chief Secretary, she claimed that she was not invited to the high-level COVID-19 review meeting chaired by PM Modi today, saying that if she was, she would’ve certainly gone. The 2-term CM also alleged that the Central government was diverting the oxygen supply chain from Bengal to Uttar Pradesh. Her comments were met with backlash, with people trying to correct the record.
PM never invited #Bengal for todays meet. If I would have been invited, I would have certainly gone. Our #OxygenSupply chain has been diverted to #UP. The supply chain is being maintained in BJP states. Where will we get #Oxygen from? asks #MamataBanerjee@_tanima_biswas reports! pic.twitter.com/wwGwzu0dBU— Mirror Now (@MirrorNow) April 23, 2021
In a press conference in Durgapur during her election campaigning, Mamata Banerjee said, ‘the PM never told us about planning for oxygen in any meeting. I have heard that even today there is a meeting, but we have not been invited. If we were invited I would have definitely gone. But I heard that only 10 states with high cases have been invited’.
The question arises, if West Bengal was not invited to the meeting, how the state’s chief secretary attended the meeting. While it is true that PM had invited CMs of 10 worst affected states, the fact is that West Bengal was part of the list. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Madhyra Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel attended the meeting.
Continuing with her rants against central forces deployed in the state during the elections, Mamata Banerjee said that 2 lakh central forces brought into the state from ‘outside’, along with around 1 lakh BJP workers from other states are spreading Covid-19 in the state.
‘Mamata’s comments captured the attention of BJP office holder Amit Malviya, with Malviya remarking, “Everyone knows Mamata Banerjee’s poor commitment to manage Covid pandemic in Bengal. She hasn’t attended a single PM-CM meeting called in recent past to work a common plan citing her campaign schedule. Even though she has failed WB, today’s meeting was only for high burden States.”
Everyone knows Mamata Banerjee’ poor commitment to manage Covid pandemic in Bengal. She hasn’t attended a single PM-CM meeting called in recent past to work a common plan citing her campaign schedule. Even though she has failed WB, today’s meeting was only for high burden States. https://t.co/iXWPMFZ1kF— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) April 23, 2021
Over the course of the past three months, Mamata Banerjee has not attended even a single meeting between Chief Ministers and the Prime Minister. She had skipped the meeting held earlier this month also, and had kept herself busy in campaigning for the elections instead. Now, she has skipped another high-level meeting today, missing all the three high-level COVID-19 review meetings in the last three months.
Mamata has cited her electoral campaigning as the reason for skipping previous meetings, with Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay attending in her stead. Therefore, it is understandable that people will take Mamata’s comments today about not being invited with a huge grain of salt.
While the ‘intelligentsia’ has been extremely critical of political rallies by the BJP, it has chosen to give other political parties a free pass. Thus, while Narendra Modi has canceled his rallies in West Bengal in light of the surging Covid-19 cases in the state, Banerjee appears to be at perfect ease to continue her campaign unabated.