Mamata Banerjee’s silence during the COVID-19 crisis is not a secret to anyone. On March 17, a London return teenager introduced the disease to West Bengal from where it spread like a wildfire due to his carelessness. After a week, on 23 rd March West Bengal suffered her first casualty when a 57-year-old man lost his life. Since then the official reports regarding deaths and infected in West Bengal have been concealed on State Government’s orders. On being criticized, Mamata Banerjee promptly quipped back that it was protective measures to avoid chaos and retain mental peace. But that was just the beginning of what continued to be almost a failure of pandemic containment. On demanding PPE kits, Centre provided West Bengal with 3000 PPE kits which she disparaged as they were yellow in color.
According to her argument, white and blue colours are generally used by hospital staffs, hence yellow coloured PPE is unacceptable. Which is pretty shocking as, during the time, medical staffs and workers were using raincoats for protection due to lack of enough kits. Several ministers, including Union Minister Debashree Chaudhuri, claimed she was stopped on her way to an inspection of the damage caused by cyclone on Central order and harassed by TMC leaders who were freely roaming around. There also have been claims of clandestine cremation of dead victims at night to prevent the actual numbers from being revealed. Even the shameful accusation of selling the free rations sent by Centre for the deprived and hungry has been in the list of many grievances against Banerjee. How much truth is hidden behind such allegations is not known as most people of West Bengal are pretty much kept in dark.
What has bewildered most is that only two districts of West Bengal have been determined to be in Red zones and most services including delivery of non-essential services have commenced in most areas, which definitely increases the risk of contamination. She even ordered the sweet shops to be kept open throughout Bengal during the entire period of national lockdown with a weak excuse of “ Bengali ‘s cannot live without sweets” West Bengal, according to Centre is the only state which refused to reveal official reports, claim help or share solidarity during the crucial state of a pandemic. On finally being pushed to the edge by PM Modi, Banerjee revealed a slice of truth, and the biggest one day rise was recorded in West Bengal on Friday with 153 fresh cases and 14 deaths in 24 hours. What concerns citizens of West Bengal is whether Mamata Banerjee prioritizes her vendetta against Modi more than her people’s well being? Was every measure towards this pandemic a failure due to lack of expertise or because this crisis seemed like an opportunity to get back at PM to Mamata Banerjee?