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    First three priorities for TMC govt are COVID, COVID, and COVID: Derek O'Brien

    politics | IST

    First three priorities for TMC govt are COVID, COVID, and COVID: Derek O'Brien

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    Mamata Banerjee has said that the swearing-in will be a small event while stressing that the most important task at hand is to serve people in times of the COVID crisis. To discuss this forward, Shereen Bhan spoke to Derek O’Brien, Trinamool Congress' parliamentary party leader of the Rajya Sabha.

    After sweeping the state assembly elections, All India Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is set to take oath as the chief minister of the state for the third time. She is scheduled to be sworn in at 10 am on Wednesday while the swearing-in of newly elected MLAs will begin on the 6th of May.
    Mamata Banerjee has said that the swearing-in will be a small event while stressing that the most important task at hand is to serve people in times of the COVID crisis.
    In the 24 hours till 8 o'clock this morning, the state has reported over 17,500 fresh COVID cases with 98 deaths during this period. Several state-run and private hospitals in the state have also put up notices saying that they are stopping vaccinations due to a shortage of vaccines. In fact, Mamata Banerjee has asked the centre to immediately release vaccines to the state threatening to go on agitation if the demand is not met.
    To discuss this forward, Shereen Bhan spoke to Derek O’Brien, Trinamool Congress' parliamentary party leader of the Rajya Sabha.
    Derek O’Brien said, “First thing I would like to say that these things like unexpected win, etc. exit poll we have no doubt in our mind that we were winning Bengal. Now our first three priorities in the next few days are COVID, COVID, and COVID. We have restricted celebrations, we have told the party workers and everyone was very restrained.”
    On COVID he said, “Mamata Banerjee warned this government from February of last year, we have set-up safe homes in Bengal that was an example. February 2021 Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Prime Minister, we did not get a reply. Basic messaging there was to leave the politics behind let us handle this. What has happened to the vaccination, where are the vaccines.”
    “West Bengal will handle this, we still believe in Bengal, that we haven’t reached the peak of COVID, this is not yet the peak. Obviously, everyone is under pressure, and we are doing all it takes. In the middle of all this, we were pleading every day with the election commission but nobody was listening.”
    Derek O’Brien said, “Amit Mitra will unfortunately not be part of government this term.”
    On policy, he said, “One of the major focuses of our government in our first terms and second term was delivering these strong programs for children, women, for widows for workers for everybody. Secondly, IT and information technology will be a big focus area in our third term because lots of it are in a kind of take-off stage. A large part of the overall policy will be to increase budget towards health and education.”
     For full interview, watch accompanying video...  
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