TMC's rural development projects played key role in defeating BJP in Bengal polls: Minister

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Kolkata, Jul 9 (PTI) West Bengal Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Subrata Mukherjee on Friday claimed that the projects implemented by his department played a key role in defeating the BJP in this year's assembly elections.

He also alleged that the misuse of the department had led to the Left Front's fall in the state.

'The massive rural development projects implemented by the Mamata Banerjee government foiled the BJP's attempt to win the assembly elections held in March-April. In this financial year's state budget too, a huge amount of Rs 24,000 crore has been allocated to the department.

'However, there may be some shortcomings as implementing the department's massive projects is a herculean task,' he told reporters on the Assembly premises.

The senior TMC leader claimed that better implementation of projects such as MGNREGA, West Bengal State Rural Livelihood Mission, Bangla Awas Yojana, Nirmal Bangla, Gramin Sadak Yojana and Anandadhara halted the BJP's juggernaut in the state.

He also attacked the Left Front, saying that though the Panchayati Raj law was adopted by the previous government, its 'misuse' led to their defeat.

But the minister also said that he misses the absence of Left and Congress members from the House during heated arguments as they were 'much more knowledgeable' than the present opposition (BJP). Neither the Left Front nor the Congress won a single seat in the 294-member assembly.

Responding to a query in the House, the minister claimed that none of the migrant workers who returned to West Bengal from other states during the COVID-19 pandemic died of hunger.

'The state government has offered job cards to every returnee migrant worker, around 10 lakh in number, so that they earn around Rs 220-Rs 250 per day. The amount is credited directly to the beneficiaries' bank accounts, so there is no scope for corruption.

'The department has created 41 crore mandays under MGNREGA. The state administration has provided free ration during the pandemic,' he said.

Replying to another question, he said that the state government is educating people to create natural water tanks close to dry toilets so that those are used for their purpose and don't become storerooms. PTI BSM ACD ACD

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