Sitharaman hits back at TMC’s Mahua Moitra; says you can find Pappu in West Bengal

New Delhi: Smarting under Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra’s attack on Modi government, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday hit back saying “Pappu” can be found in West Bengal and the “maachis” of people’s mandate given to Mamata Banerjee’s party led to arson and loot in the state post election victory.

In Lok Sabha, Sitharaman also sought to highlight the difference in situation in terms of post election results in Gujarat and West Bengal.

Gujarat was peaceful post BJP’s recent assembly election victory but there was “arson, looting, rape and burning of houses of our party workers” after TMC won the West Bengal polls in 2021, the minister said.

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“Loktantra mein janata sarkar ke haath mein maachis dethi hain. Isliye, prashan yeh nahi hona chahiye ki haath mein maachis kisne di, asli prashan to yeh hai ki maachis ka upayog kis prakar kiya gaya (In democracy, people give matchsticks in the hands of the government. So the question should not be that who gave the matchsticks but how the matchsticks were used),” Sitharaman said.

On Tuesday, Moitra criticised the government over certain macroeconomic data and also remarked that the question is not who started the fire but who gave the “mad man” the “maachis”.

While hitting back at Moitra during the reply to the debate on the supplementary demand for grants, Sitharaman also said, “hamare haath main jab maachis thee, humne Ujjawala diya, humne Ujala diya, humne PM Kisan diya, humne Swachh Bharat Abhiyan chalaya (when we got the mandate, we gave free cooking gas, electricity connections, Rs 6,000 annual cash to farmers, and started clean India campaign).

Taking a dig at the TMC, the finance minister said that when that party got the “maachis”, there was arsoning, looting, rapes, and burning of houses of BJP workers.

“Jaab apke haath main aaya maachis, arson hua, looting hua, rape hua, hamare karyakarta ka ghar jalaya,” she said and also mentioned about the attack on the car of Union Minister V Muraleedharan during his visit to West Bengal in 2021.

Moitra, while participating in the debate in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, had launched a broadside on the government’s economic management as well as BJP’s politics of sheilding rape accused.

Citing decline in certain macro economic data, she had repeatedly asked who is the “Pappu” now and went said the question is not who started the fire, but who gave the “mad man” the matches.

‘Pappu’ is a term that BJP supporters use to describe Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Hitting back, Sitharaman said that all the macro-economic fundamentals are being questioned.

“There is a question who is the Pappu, where is the Pappu. Actually, if only the honourable member looks back into her own backward, she will find Pappu in West Bengal.

“So there is no doubt… when there are wonderful schemes which can benefit common people, West Bengal sits over it and doesn’t (implement) them… you don’t need to search anywhere else for Pappu,” the minister said.

In her reply, Sitharaman also said that funds under rural job guarantee scheme MNREGA could not be released to West Bengal since March 2022 as the state government has not yet replied to complaints of misuse of funds.

She said as per the MNREGA Act, the central government upon receiving the complaints cannot release funds till necessary explanation is received from the concerned state.

According to the minister, India is the fastest growing major economy in the world with inflation within tolerable limits.

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