Kolkata: The tussle between Central Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and State Government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee amid the countrywide lockdown to fight Covid-19 threat has inadvertently assumed political overtones as West Bengal will go to polls to elect a new Assembly in a year’s time from now.
Less than a year after the Mamata Banerjee government in the state suffered a major electoral jolt in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the extraordinary situation over Covid-19 has offered the state administration an opportunity to reach out to the common people and the administration has swung into action.
On the other hand, after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls showed a BJP upsurge in the state, and how Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have their eyes set on Mamata’s turf.
From the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Ms Banerjee has been engaged in a constant tussle with the Modi government, blaming supply of faulty kits from the Centre for the slow pace of testing and inconclusive results in West Bengal.
The chief minister has also blamed the Centre for a delay in imposing the lockdown and not shutting down airports early enough.
After the Central Government’s team arrived in the state to check on the violation of mandatory enforcement of lockdown to break the chain of Corona infections, the chief minister cried foul.
The Centre has criticised West Bengal several times on its Covid-19 management, including its level of testing and its mortality rate, which at 13.2% is the highest in the country.
The Inter-Ministerial Central Team that visited Kolkata, Howrah, and certain other districts in West Bengal, to check its Coronavirus preparation, has accused it of low testing, weak surveillance, and discrepancies in reporting cases.
The migrant issue appears to be a new flashpoint between the Centre and West Bengal, run by two fierce political rivals.