UPA's Food Security Bill a poll gimmick, says Mamata

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Kolkata, Feb 5: West Bengal Chif Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday slammed the Congress-led UPA government, saying the latter was talking about the Food Security Bill to deceive people ahead of the next year's general elections. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, who withdrew from the UPA in September last year alleging that the latter was pushing anti-people policies, criticised the Centre for raising prices of diesel, petrol and fertilizers time and again and flayed the Union ministers from the state who claimed that the state government was only carrying out th central schemes.

Banerjee, who was addressing a workshop of the party's youth fronts, namely, the Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad, Yuva and Trinamool Youth Congress here, said the Centre was claiming that it would provide foodgrain to the poor only because of the upcoming polls. She said the Centre actually never cared for the people and that is evident from its decision to raise prices of diesel, petrol and fertilizer time and again. She said more promises would be made in the budget preceding the elections but there would be no action to carry out the promises. "Everybody is not as transparent as us,' she said.

Mamata Banerjee

Replying to some of the Union ministers from the state that those projects which the TMC highlight as its own success story were ac tually funded by the Centre, Banerjee asked whose money made up those funds. She said every year the Centre takes Rs 4,000 crore from West Bengal but give back a miniscule amount for welfare projects. She added that the state government generates rs 21,000 crore as revenue but the Centre takes away Rs 26,000 crore as repayment of central loans and interest.

Banerjee challenged the Centre, saying her administration would show what rural development is if all the money went to the state government's coffers instead of the Centre's. She, however, admitted that the state government did not have enough funds to pay salaries to its employees, and said the government was dipping into a non-plan budgetary accounts for this.

The CM also contended that the Centre deducted money from the state on grounds that it required funds for implementing the Food Security Bill.

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