North Bengal Storm Reignites Trinamool Vs BJP Spat

Bengal’s northern region will be the first to vote on April 19 as the general elections begin in the country. But weeks before the election, a massive storm has hit the region, blowing away homes and disrupting thousands of lives. Locals say there has been a delay in relief — a responsibility that lies with the local administration now that the Model Code of Conduct has been announced.

A political war has now started over the issue between the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress.

The Trinamool has argued that the loss would have been limited if the BJP had not withheld funds for building homes. “If the people got funds under the Awas Yojana at the right time, maybe many of them would have had the shelter of pucca homes,” said Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh.
“The BJP-run central government has deliberately not given funds under the 100-day job guarantee scheme and Awas Yojana and this is the result of that,” he added.

The BJP has claimed the Trinamool is corrupt and relief material will be looted. “If there is a storm, the Trinamool is excited. Whatever comes, they will loot it. They want floods, storms and earthquakes, so they can earn from it,” said senior BJP leader Dilip Ghosh.

“It is the duty of the government to ensure that the affected people are helped, given strength and compensation so they to return to normalcy,” he added.
The trigger to the political battle was Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s immediate visit to the area. The BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, who also rushed to the area, attacked her, alleging that her visit was only meant for a photo-op.

“There are more photo sessions happening. Rescue and relief work is not happening properly. What is the work that has to be done at midnight? What is the hurry to visit the hospital and visit the family of the dead victims? It could have happened in the morning,” he said.
Trinamool’s Abhishek Banerjee hit back, asking what stopped the BJP from reaching early.

“If he is claiming that the Chief Minister has come all the way from Kolkata at midnight to turn this incident into a media spectacle, what stopped the PM from following the same principle?” he said.

“The BJP should be last ones to talk about publicity and photo ops. Their entire politics have been revolving around PR and photo ops,” he added.

Coochbehar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri will vote in the first phase of election on April 19 and as the BJP attempts to consolidate its base here, the Trinamool is attempting to regain lost ground.

Last time, the BJP won all the seats in north Bengal, taking its tally to 18. Reaching its target of 25 seats in this election makes it essential for the BJP to retain its grasp over the region.

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