Suri, February 18: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday alleged that the BJP-led central government "deactivated" Aadhaar cards of people in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha polls to stop them from availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes. Speaking at a public distribution programme here in Birbhum district, Banerjee said her government would continue with the state-run welfare programmes irrespective of the beneficiaries not having an Aadhaar card.

"Be careful, they (BJP-led Centre) are deactivating Aadhaar cards. Several Aadhaar cards have been made inactive in many districts of Bengal. They are doing this so that people do not get benefits of schemes like ‘Lakshmi Bhandar' through bank transfer and free ration before the polls,” she claimed. "My clear instruction to the chief secretary is to ensure that people are not deprived of the benefits even if they do not have active Aadhaar cards. People of Bengal need not be worried. I am there for you," the CM said. Delhi: BJP Workers Burn West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's Effigy in Delhi While Protesting Against Sandeskhali Violence

She alleged that Aadhaar cards of 50 people at Jamalpur in Purba Bardhaman district and several others in Birbhum, North and South 24 Parganas as well as in North Bengal have been “delinked”. "If I get to know that they (BJP-led Centre) have a hidden agenda behind deactivating Aadhaar cards, I will not allow a single scheme to be linked with those documents," she said.

"First, the Union government asked people to obtain Aadhaar cards, even for admission to schools. And now, it is deactivating the unique identity numbers without informing you... How many such cards do people need? What will they do with so many of these?” the chief minister said. Banerjee also directed the chief secretary to launch an online portal where people, “whose Aadhaar cards have been deactivated”, could lodge their complaints. West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee Spends Night on Dharna in Kolkata Over State’s ‘Dues’ From Centre for MGNREGA (Watch Video)

She said that if banks don't allow transactions for customers without Aadhaar cards, cooperative banks can be an alternative. "If the banks think they will not work without the Aadhaar cards, then we will work without them... we have so many cooperative banks and other financial organisations,” Banerjee said. Referring to the farmers' agitation over the demand for government guarantee on minimum support price of their produce, she asserted that cultivators in Bengal do not face any problem.