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No let up in Congress-Trinamool war of words

Saturday February 11, 2012 03:19:44 PM, Anurag Dey, IANS

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Kolkata: The Congress and Trinamool Congress have again chosen to stay on the collision path over the release of central funds for the cash-strapped West Bengal government.

It all began when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made a scathing attack on the central government for being 'insensitive' to the financial crisis.

She thundered: "If the state doesn't gets its dues, the people of Bengal know how to get it".

According to her, Bengal was debt ridden by over Rs. 2.3 lakh crore, 94 percent of its earnings go towards salaries, interest payments to the centre and pensions. With what remained, it was tough to run the state.

Rubbishing Banerjee, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said since her government took over the reins, it had been allotted Rs.7,800 crore by the central government.

Singhvi's remark ignited a chain reaction as leaders from both the partied tried to outdo each other.

The Trinamool launched a two-pronged attack led by Finance Minister Amit Mitra and Food Minister Jyoti Priya Mullick.

Mitra accused the Congress of giving out "absolutely incorrect information". He said Bengal had not got a "single paisa" from New Delhi.

Mullick accused "lobbyists" of colonising New Delhi. He said the central government was not giving funds to buy paddy from the farmers. "We need a one time grant of Rs.2,000 crore but the centre is not giving it."

The minister declined to attend a meeting scheduled Feb 8 and 9: "I will send my officers instead. It is futile to go to Delhi which is home to lobbyists. I cannot indulge in that dirty game."

Singhvi returned the compliment. He marshalled statistics to back his claims and accused the Banerjee government of "deliberately attempting to understate and suppress central assistance".

"It is true that I am not an economist. an eminent economist and finance minister of West Bengal did not know these figures or did not care to find them out or did not want to talk about them."

The spar continued with Mitra reiterating his earlier stand, with a rider that whatever the state got was its constitutional right.

As the tug of war continued, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) announced that the Left Front would support the state government if its demands were based on principle.

(Anurag Dey can be contacted at








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Picture of the Day

New Delhi,27 Jan 2012-IGNOU Vice-Chancellor M Aslam receiving the "Best teaching practices Award" from noted film director Prakash Jha at the India Today Aspire education summit 2012,in New Delhi on Friday. Also in picture India Today Group's Rekha Puri.

(Photo: IANS/Amlan Paliwal)



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