Bengal govt's health scheme a hoax, says Rajib Banerjee after joining BJP

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(Eds: Adds details) Howrah (WB), Jan 31 (PTI) A day after joining the BJP, former West Bengal minister Rajib Banerjee on Sunday claimed that the Trinamool Congress government's much-publicised 'Swasthya Sathi' scheme is a hoax as funds are insufficient.

Attacking the TMC government for launching public outreach programmes just months before the assembly elections, he said that the BJP, after coming to power, will ensure that services reach the doorstep of people throughout the year.

'The funds required for the (Swasthya Sathi) scheme are much more than the West Bengal government's annual budget,' Banerjee said on the free medical insurance scheme of Rs five lakh for each family in the state.

When someone joins the TMC from another party, it is claimed that the person has done so for the welfare of the state, Banerjee said adding that when someone leaves, he is termed a traitor.

This is an indication of the beginning of the end for the TMC, he said.

There is no need for the TMC to remain in power as the party claimed long back that 99 per cent of development work had already been undertaken by it, Banerjee said in his first public meeting after being inducted into the saffron party in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Saturday.

Though some work has been done in the state, a lot more is needed, he said adding that unemployed men and women still to go to other states in search of jobs.

'I discussed with Amit Shah yesterday about the development of the state,' Banerjee said while addressing the meeting in Howrah, in which Union minister Smriti Irani and other BJP leaders were present.

The former forest minister of the state said that he discussed a roadmap for the development of the state with Shah and for creation of jobs through setting up of industries.

'We will work towards creating a Bengal where youths will get jobs in the state. They will not be forced to go to other states for work,' he said.

Banerjee alleged that the TMC government's opposition towards the Centre has cost the people of the state job opportunities.

'If good relations are not there between the Centre and the state, the path of development cannot be smooth. I have told Amit Shah that the state needs a special economic package. He has said that their main aim is to develop of the state and turn it into Sonar Bangla (golden Bengal) again,' Banerjee said.

Claiming that the TMC has not done anything for the development of minorities in the state, he alleged that the ruling party has used them as vote bank.

He said that since the assembly elections are months away, the TMC government has introduced programmes like 'Duare Sarkar' and 'Paray Samadhan' in December last year.

The Mamata Banerjee administration launched the 'Duare Sarkar' drive to deliver benefits of 11 state-run welfare schemes to people, while local neighbourhood grievances will be redressed under the 'Paray Samadhan' initiative.

He said that the BJP, after coming to power, will ensure that services reach the doorstep of people throughout the year and not just before elections.

Former minister Suvendu Adhikari said that they left the TMC because it has ceased to be a political party and has become a private limited company.

Adhikari, who joined the BJP last month, claimed that the way TMC leaders and workers are joining the BJP, there will be no people to hold the flag of the ruling party.

'Real parivartan (change) did not come in 2011, it will happen this time,' he said, asserting that in order to save the country, the BJP has to come to power in the state.

The TMC formed the government in West Bengal in 2011 ousting the CPI(M)-led Left Front which ruled the state for 34 years. PTI AMR NN NN