Kolkata: Hitting out at the opposition Left Front, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday asked its leaders to keep mum for 10 years alleging they had wrecked havoc in key sectors like health, sanitation and poverty alleviation during their 34-year rule.
“For 10 years, you should put leukoplast on your mouth, you should not utter a single word,” Banerjee said replying to queries at the state assembly. She also charged the LF with keeping beneficial schemes away from the needy on political considerations.
Irked at the LF lawmakers staging a walk out from the House over “not being allowed to put questions”, Banerjee said Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra – health minister for years during the LF regime – should try to compete, not with her, but with Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya.
Attacking Mishra, she asked him to give the number of districts she visited during his tenure, and said the hospitals had then been turned into living hells.
“The only thing they did was politics. Poor people were denied benefits of welfare schemes on political considerations. Is this your theory of haves and have-nots?” she asked.
The chief minister alleged nothing was done to ensure rural sanitation, while the public distribution system was awful.
In contrast, she claimed her government had set up fair price medicine shops which have become a model for other states in the country.
She said her government has confiscated about 77.25 lakhs bogus ration cards in the state.
Responding to Banerjee’s allegations, Mishra later told reporters that the government lacked the guts to answer even one question from the opposition.
Earlier, LF members held noisy protests in the assembly alleging questions pertaining to the home department – under Banerjee – were not allowed in the house.
The LF members were back in their seats after Banerjee entered , but walked out after Mishra’s questions directed at the chief minister was disallowed.
Interacting with journalists, Mishra said: “This is not the first time she has asked us to put leukoplasts on our mouth and keep mum for ten years. But I would like to tell her that there was more need for leukoplasts in the hospitals, where there is a dearth of such adhesive tapes.”
“The state government is talking big about increasing hospital beds. But due to shortage of experts and doctors, these are nothing but death beds,” he said.
Mishra alleged that Banerjee was using the assembly like public rallies. “She makes speeches whenever she feels like. She replies to questions put to other ministers, but remains silent when we put questions about the departments under her direct supervision”.