Thursday 30 June 2022
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Cancer treatment in Kolkata twice inaugurated? Both PM, CM stake claim

Banerjee told Modi that he would be happy to know that the state government was bearing 25% of the cost of construction of the campus for cancer treatment

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated a campus of Chittaranjan Hospital in Kolkata, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, present at this function, said the facility had already been inaugurated by her earlier when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its most devastating phase in the state. The chief minister was connected to the venue virtually too.

The chief minister told the prime minister, “We had inaugurated the hospital that you are evincing interest in now.”

The event is making the wrong kind of news for Banerjee who was noticed fiddling with her mobile phone in the middle of Prime Minister Modi’s address. Videos of this virtual programme are circulating wildly via social media platforms.

Banerjee said, “The health minister had called me twice. That’s why I thought that the programme in in which the prime minister is showing interest now must be attended to set the record straight. We have already inaugurated this campus. Let me also tell you how we inaugurated this campus.”

The chief minister said further, ‘When the pandemic by coronavirus started, we needed a Covid-19 care centre. One day, I came to this campus and saw that it was linked to the state government. That’s why we inaugurated it.”

As Chief Minister Banerjee laid claim to opening the facility first, Prime Minister Modi appeared to listen intently and nod at times.

The chief minister told the prime minister that he would be happy to know that the state government was bearing 25% of the cost of construction of the campus for treatment. Along with this, the state government gave 11 ac of land for the building. “All this has been done because the union and state government should work together for the good of the people,” she said.

The Prime Minister’s Office had invited Suvendu Adhikari, leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party in West Bengal, who had defeated Mamata Banerjee in the Nandigram in the assembly election, to the event. Chief Minister Banerjee was reportedly upset with what she called a “breach of protocol”.

Last year, Chief Minister Banerjee had grabbed news headlines similarly when she had protested against the inclusion of Adhikari in the list of invitees to her talk with the prime minister.

Again, she had a programme at the historic Victoria Memorial midway after sharing the stage with Prime Minister Modi. She was upset with a section of the crowd chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.

India has had a long history of banter between the prime minister and chief minister belonging to different political parties at events like these. When the second Hooghly Bridge, named later as Vidyasagar Setu, was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao (INC) in the presence of the then Chief Minister Jyoti Basu (CPM), the premier had quipped: “This is a development model worth replicating. First, build a bridge using public money. Then, charge the public against for using the bridge!” Rao was referring to the toll system for the concessionaire that was new to the country at that point of time.

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