Kolkata, March 7 (IANS) Virtually adopting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reach-out style, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written open letters in multiple languages to the beneficiaries of various state schemes ahead of the 2019 general election.
Banerjee’s signed letter, giving an account of various development drives taken up by her government since coming to power in 2011 for different segments of the society, is being distributed to the beneficiaries in cities, towns and villages of the state.
It is seen as a bid to counter the Modi government’s reach-out to beneficiaries of its Ayushmann Bharat health scheme.
The Bengal government pulled out of the scheme in January this year, accusing the Centre of using the picture of Prime Minister in the letters to take credit for a jointly funded project.
Starting late last year, Modi had written two-page personalised letters to the beneficiaries of the Ayushmann Bharat scheme in eight languages across all states to educate them of benefits of the project as also those of other government welfare measures such as the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana.
According to sources at the state secretariat Nabanna, the primary thrust of Banerjee’s missive is on education, health, transport and food and civil supplies departments.
State Food Supplies Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick said more than 8.5 crore consumers under the state government’s food security scheme (Khadya Sathi) have received the letters in various districts.
“Our department has issued the letters signed by our Chief Minister to over 8.5 crore beneficiaries of Khadya Sathi. We are expecting to complete the work of circulating the letters by tomorrow (Friday). Unllike Narendra Modi, we are not giving letters sealed in envelopes. These are open letters for everyone to see,” Mullick told IANS.
“A number of other departments are also issuing the same letters to the respective beneficiaries of other schemes like ‘Kanyashree’ for school-going girls, ‘Swasthay Sathi’ for contractual and casual workers and ‘Gitanjali Housing Scheme’ for building houses,” he said.
The minister said, keeping the linguistic diversity of Bengal in mind, the letters are being issued in multiple languages such as Nepali in northern Bengal hills, Hindi in the industrial belts of Durgapur-Asansol and Ol Chiki in the tribal areas.