TMC copycat of Left rule in West Bengal except for the fact it scaled up corruption: Harsh Vardhan

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(Recasting intro, adding detail) Kolkata, Feb 6 (PTI) Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday that except for the name there was not much difference between the TMC government and the Left Front's over three decades rule in West Bengal, and asserted the change in government was 'inevitable' in the state.

The Trinamool Congress scaled up corruption as per their convenience as compared to those prevailing during 34 years of the left regime, he said.

The minister was also critical of the health infrastructure in the state under the present government and cited data to show how West Bengal was lagging behind in the sector in the country.

Vardhan dismissed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's claims of the state not getting any help from the central government to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

The state government was provided Rs 275.99 crore to fight outbreak of the deadly virus, he said.

'There was one system for 34 years and then another came in the last 10 years, only the name has changed. All the extortions and the systems remained the same.

'Maybe they have scaled up certain things (corruptions) as per their convenience,' he told reporters here.

Without naming anyone, he said that people of the state are fed up with 'nephew-brotherhood' and the rise in corruption, extortion and appeasement.

'The feedback that I have been receiving from different sources for the last one year indicates that change in West Bengal is inevitable,' he added.

The Rath Yatra launched by BJP president J P Nadda during the day may strengthen the process.

'People are unhappy and fed up with the rise in corruption, appeasement as well as nephew-brotherhood in the state,' Vardhan alleged.

The BJP has been targeting chief minister's nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, alleging his role in several scams.

'Now, there is nothing but corruption, appeasement and nephew-brotherhood in the state. This is what common people without any links to the BJP are saying,' Vardhan, who was on a day's visit to the city to attend a health conclave, said.

Elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are due in April-May.

'Maa Mati Manush has been replaced by extortion and appeasement. Will anybody believe that this is a land which gives so much inspiration to everyone. Will people believe that this is the land of Swami Vivekananda, Ram Krishna, Rabindranath Tagore and so many other freedom fighters? 'Gruesome murders are happening... recently Amit ji (Shah) also talked about 300 cases,' he later said while addressing the health conclave.

When pointed out about Mamata Banerjee's charge of the state not getting any help from the central government to combat the pandemic, Vardhan said, 'Whatever I have told you people are based on facts and statistics and if a single one is incorrect, I am ready to face any punishment.

'In my entire political career which I started in 1993, I have not spoken a single lie. Everything is there on record, how much was given to the state and all.' Referring to the allegations that the state government had failed to handle the post-Cyclone Amphan situation in the state and also there was misappropriation of funds, Vardhan, who is also the minister of Earth Sciences, said, 'We have given a forewarning about it.' PTI SCH SNS SNS