When PM talks, CMs should sit like puppets: Mamata after COVID meet

Mamata Banerjee took PM Modi to task for taking the COVID-19 situation in the country so “lightly” and “evading” queries from various states on vaccines, oxygen and COVID-19 medicines

Mamata Banerjee
The "federal structure is being bulldozed”, said Mamata Banerjee, adding that a team has to be formed to fight against the BJP government in the Centre. Photo PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a tirade against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (May 20) accusing him of treating Chief Ministers like “puppets” and not giving any of them an opportunity to speak at a virtual meet held to discuss the COVID-19 situation.

“A dictatorship is going on”, she said, describing the meeting as a “superflop”, reported the media.

After attending the Chief Ministers meet with the PM, Banerjee told the media that the Prime Minister had invited them for a meeting but they were made to sit like puppets. None of them was allowed to speak, she said. And asked, how the CMs could convey the demands of the public if they were not given a chance to talk?

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Banerjee said that they felt insulted and humiliated by this. “We are not bonded labourers,” she said, stating that a “dictatorship” was going on in the country. She felt that the PM is so insecure that he did not even listen to the CMs. What is this fear about? she asked.

Earlier this month too, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had claimed that PM Modi failed to hear him out during their telephone conversation on the COVID situation in the state. Instead, it had just been a “monologue” from him, Soren had said.

Further, Banerjee, who had effectively demolished the Modi-Shah combine in the recent Bengal Assembly elections, took PM Modi to task for taking the COVID-19 situation in the country so “lightly” and “evading” queries from various states on vaccines, oxygen and COVID-19 medicines.

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The PM had a casual approach to the dire COVID situation in the country, she pointed out. “Delhi’s Shahhenshah is saying sab theek hai (all is well), when everyday people are dying,” said Banerjee.

Banerjee also castigated the Centre for the way the “federal structure is being bulldozed”. While the Centre had time to build massive buildings and statues, they had no time to listen to the Chief Ministers, she complained.

The CM also questioned the PM as to why Central teams or the CBI were not being sent to Uttar Pradesh to investigate on dead COVID-19 patients being dumped into the river Ganga. “The CBI does not reach their (UP government)’s doorstep,” she said scathingly.

The Ganga river had been turned into a “Mrityupuri Gange”, she added. there was no record of the dead bodies being dumped into the river. The COVID-19 infected bodies were also flowing into Bengal from UP and polluting their waters and causing damage to the environment, besides increasing the COVID cases in the state.

According to her, a team has to be formed to take on the BJP government at the Centre. “It will be a fight between democracy against dictatorship,” she added.