Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today fact-checked Union Home Minister Amit Shah on his searing criticism of Bengal’s economy and said he owed her a “dhokla” treat for being proved wrong.
Continuing her offensive against the BJP and Amit Shah, its chief strategist for the Bengal election in four months, Mamata Banerjee listed data that she said proved that their claims about Bengal’s dismal state of industry and crime were trumped up.
“Amit Shah owes me a treat. I love dhokla and other Gujarati food,” the Chief Minister remarked.
Amit Shah, in a weekend visit to Bengal, addressed a rally in which scores of rebels from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress joined the BJP. The Union Home Minister went on to describe what he called lawlessness and stunted progress in Bengal on “Didi’s” watch.
Mr Shah said Bengal’s growth had plunged and its industrial production had dropped from 30 per cent of India’s share in 1947 to just 3.5 per cent. Giving more unflattering data of jobs, investment and production, he questioned: “Who is responsible for this downfall?”
Mamata Banerjee has been refuting the figures since in daily press conferences.
“He made Bengal seem like a nightmare land. He made Bengal look like a state that is doing badly, underdeveloped, with no jobs… Did you see Bengal 11 years back? How can you compare? I have no objection with the truth, but if there is no truth to the criticism, I will challenge it,” the Chief Minister said.
In her point-by-point rebuttal to Mr Shah’s comments, Mamata Banerjee cited national crime data to claim that political killings had decreased in the last 10 years under Trinamool’s rule.
“When the home minister of the country says something, it should be backed by data, facts and figures. Bengal is ahead of other states on all development indices. But Amit Shah ji deliberately tried to depict a gloomy and dismal picture of the state. I was challenged… here is my reply,” she said.
“BJP leaders, while pointing fingers at others, should also speak up against the Hathras rape-murder incident in Uttar Pradesh,” added the Chief Minister, referring to the alleged gangrape of a young woman, who died in hospital later, and criticism of the UP government’s handling of the case.