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Abhishek’s ‘Diamond Harbour model’ draws flak from opposition

 Abhishek Banerjee

Ashok Chatterjee

Kolkata (The Hawk): A few days ago, Trinamool Congress national general secretary and MP Abhishek Banerjee had made a significant statement to the media when he said that he personally believes that all religious and political gatherings have to be stopped for the next two months. “These elections and fairs can be held if people are alive. It is a fight to stay alive,” he had said.

Abhishek, who is also nephew of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, had said that in his parliamentary area of Diamond Harbour, he has advised the district administration to not allow any gathering and educate people to wear double masks. He also said that he will let medical teams go door-to-door to test people. He set a target of 30,000 tests on Wednesday.   

What the political circles are agog is that if Abhishek thinks that all gatherings should be stopped then why is the party, which is in power in the state, not pressing for the closure of the Gangasagar Mela. While the TMC MP had also added with his statement that what he said is his ‘personal’ opinion, senior Trinamool leader and MP Saugata Roy had said a day later that Abhishek’s view is also the view of the party. Many senior party leaders on social media too re-tweeted Abhishek’s statement.

CPI(M) senior leader Sujan Chakraborty criticized the Trinamool youth icon for floating the ‘Diamond Harbour model’. He said, “What Abhishek Banerjee has said, it took Saugata Roy and other leaders to decide that it is also the party’s viewpoint. There is no difference between the party and an individual in Trinamool Congress. It is a company of the Pishi-Bhaipo (aunt-nephew). The party has defended the government by saying that the process for holding the Gangasagar fair had started before Abhishek’s comment. We fail to understand why the fair could not be stopped even after that. The Odisha and the Uttarakhand governments could take a decision much ahead to stop the holy dip on Makar Sankranti Day but the West Bengal government could not and is pushing the people of the state into grave danger.”

“Gangasagar Mela will be a super spreader, feel experts. Still the government is hell bent on holding it, because the fair is an image-building exercise for the chief minister, despite such high cases of Covid-19 in the state. Mamata will go ahead with the fair for her own needs whereas she is closing down markets to stop the spread of virus,” said Chakraborty.

The CPI(M) leader came down heavily on Abhishek for his Diamond Harbour model. “Testing center at Khariberia in Budge Budge has been shut for many days now. Now suddenly, he has decided to have the testing done door-to-door. We ask if this is at the cost of denying the testing kits and facilities from the people from other districts. It is for his image building. On Sunday and Monday, around 20,000 less RT-PCR tests were held. Are the kits being transported from other areas of state to Diamond Harbour to test 30,000 people? We ask why the model is being done only in Abhishek’s area and not in other MP areas,” he questioned.

Bharatiya Janata party spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya too slammed the state for the move and said the government is for khela-mela (sports and fairs). “The election Commission is saying that all campaigning has to be done online. We had put a plea that the civic polls should be deferred by a month. The chief minister is advising people to stay indoors, another of their leaders is saying that all gatherings should be stopped immediately and on the other hand the government is allowing the fair. It is confusing people,” he said.