West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday took offence to comments made by Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh. The Union Minister’s comments came in the context of Banerjee’s interview in a Bengali daily where she called the UPA-II at the Centre “a brain dead Government in Delhi”.

A letter dated October 19 from Ramesh to the State Government mentioned that the fourth instalment of funds of Rs 601.20 crore was released for implementation of MGNREGA and a total of Rs 2,655.20 crore so far in 2012-13. However, the bone of contention lay in the fourth paragraph where it mentions: “Incidentally, may I add that this reflects how sensitive the so-called ‘brain-dead government in Delhi’ is to the needs of the people of West Bengal”.

Calling Ramesh’s comments “vindictive, unethical and unconstitutional”, Mamata Banerjee wrote on her Facebook wall: “I am stunned to see that a Union Minister can write such a distasteful statement like this to the State Government.”

Putting up a scanned copy of the letter, Banerjee sought public opinion on the comments of the minister.

Stating that such remarks set a bad precedent , Banerjee said: “Under Central Government schemes such as MGNREGA, Govt of India funds are released to all the states for implementation of the scheme. Releasing funds for the Central schemes is not a matter of charity. This is a pure governmental activity.”

abhsishek.l@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 20, 2012)
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