Abetting Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's claims of one-sided humiliation in COVID meetings with the Prime Minister, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren alleged that the Chief Ministers were not invited to talk in meetings with the PM.
"I was also present in that call. All the chief ministers sat there without saying a word. What is the point of asking CMs to attend if you want to speak to officials?" Soren said in an interview with The Print.
Soren had earlier faced immense backlash from BJP for tweeting, "The respected Prime Minister called today. He only spoke his 'Mann ki Baat' and it would have better if he had talked about work done and listened to the other side," following a call with the PM regarding Covid management.
Elaborating on the call, he said, "The call from the PM to me lasted not more than two minutes. I was actually not going to tweet about it, but that evening, I saw on the evening news that the PM was supposed to have called me and spoken to me about the pandemic situation in Jharkhand. This was not a pandemic phone call, but a political phone call."
"The PM's call to me was about making political TRPs. Neither did the PM listen to what I had to say about the situation in Jharkhand, nor did he offer any solutions," he added.
A week ago, following a meeting with the PM on May 20, Banerjee had alleged one-way humiliation. She said, "This was not a one-way communication... it was one-way humiliation... One nation, all humiliation."
"If states were not allowed to speak, why were they called? All the Chief Ministers must protest for not being allowed to speak. Is the Prime Minister feeling so insecure that he did not bother to listen to the Chief Ministers? Why is he so scared? If he didn't want to hear the Chief Ministers, why call us? He let some District Magistrates speak and insulted the Chief Ministers," she said while adding it to be a demolition of the federal structure. She had further alleged likeness to dictatorship and martial law while adding that she is not speaking for all Chief Ministers.
Soren repeated Banerjee's allegations of attack on federalism, alleging, "In our federal history, the PM doesn't directly review collectors & secretaries. Does this mean we should review officials of the central government?"
"The PM's way of working is as if 'I am the only one in this country & there can't be anyone else'," he added.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader referred to the immense and delaying red tape around the procurement of anti-covid drugs. The centralisation of allocation of oxygen also meant that Jharkhand could not coordinate with other states facing high demand despite being the largest producer of oxygen in the country.
Alleging that the Centre is not willing to take up responsibility for the crisis, he said, "In this pandemic, we should forget about politics and work to save lives. If this is a national disaster, then Centre's responsibility is greater."