Politics

'Mechanism of Stealing Funds' Took Roots During Erstwhile Left Front Govt in West Bengal: Mamata

'Mechanism of Stealing Funds' Took Roots During Erstwhile Left Front Govt in West Bengal: Mamata

Facing protests over "irregularities" in distribution of assistance to the cyclone affected, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday alleged that the erstwhile Left Front government's legacy of corruption is to be blamed for the situation and asserted that such malpractices have been checked to a large extent under her rule.

"During the CPI(M) regime, there used to be 100 per cent stealing of funds at the panchayat level. We have managed to reduce it by 90 per cent... It will take some more time, but remember I do not spare my partymen also," she said.

The Trinamool Congress chief alleged the mechanism of "stealing of funds" meant for welfare of the people took roots during the over three-decade rule of the Left government, which was ousted from power by Banerjee in the 2011 Assembly elections.

Banerjee was responding to allegations of irregularities in distribution of relief materials to those affected by cyclone Amphan. She said though her government has managed to check corruption to a large extent, the "Left Front mechanism" still exists in some quarters.

"This mechanism was developed by the CPI(M) during its 34-year rule. It's still in practice at some levels and I am fighting against this day in and day out," Banerjee said at the 'Safe Drive Save Life' programme organised by Kolkata Police.

The chief minister also said opposition parties in West Bengal were trying to politicise "small incidents" regarding misappropriation of funds.

"There are 341 blocks in the state, several municipalities and towns. A few small incidents have been reported from three places...," she said.

Banerjee said the Trinamool Congress government has been taking action against those indulging in corrupt practices and their number will come down further.

"I not only have to fight against Amphan and COVID-19, but also against the Congress, the CPI(M) and the BJP. Then, there is the central government, too," the CM said.

The TMC supremo also accused the West Bengal BJP of providing "pocket and packet money" to a section of people to disseminate its anti-government propaganda in the state.

"The BJP has got so much money. It's offering pocket money and packet money to many.... I will see how many days they can continue this. After the 2021 assembly elections, the party will flee and you will see no one (of the BJP)," Banerjee said.

She claimed that a leader of the saffron party and his mother had tested positive for COVID-19 in the city, but the state BJP unit did not respond to his calls for help.

"I had got a call from the police regarding this. I instructed officials to immediately take them to MR Bangur Hospital; now they have recovered. This is the same BJP leader who talks big and criticises us (the TMC) all the time," Banerjee said.