KOLKATA: TMC MPs have been issued strict guidelines about their role in Parliament and asked not to socialise with journalists and even Union ministers and BJP legislators while in New Delhi. Party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has held a “tutorial class” for them in this regard.
The MPs have been told “to avoid the media as well as Union ministers of the Modi Government” and consult senior party MPs such as Sougata Roy and Sudip Banerjee before raising any issue related to their constituencies in the Lok Sabha.
Several first-timers, particularly celebrities such as Dipak Adikary alias Dev, Sandhya Roy, Moonmoon Sen, Arpita Ghosh and former Indian soccer team captain Prasun Banerjee have been asked to toe the line of seniors while inside the House. The TMC leadership is embarrassed by actor-turned-MP Tapas Pal’s hate speech and the fact that Shatabdi Roy’s name is being linked to the `2,500-crore Saradha chit fund scam. During their first tenure, they had hardly participated in any Parliamentary proceedings. A veteran TMC leader said: “Unfortunately, instead of nominating us for the Lok Sabha elections, Mamatadi chose celebrities to cash in on their popularity and increase the number of MPs in the Lok Sabha.
“After the Tapas Pal affair, she has realised that these film stars and celebrities are a liability to the party. But she still seems to have an obsession for them. In the long run, this attitude will prove disastrous, particularly in the wake of the BJP’s sudden growth in West Bengal,” he said.
However, some TMC leaders feel that Bollywood star-turned-MP Mithun Chakraborty is an exception.
All TMC MPs have been strictly told to avoid attending lunches or dinners hosted by Union ministers and develop any rapport with BJP leaders and MPs. They have also been warned that the party will keep a watch on them and their activities during their stay in the national capital. Regarding the media, they have been warned of “sting operations” and asked not to allow any stranger in their suites during their stay at Banga Bhavan or in hotels.
“The video clipping of Tapas has rattled our leadership. Though many of us are responsible and matured enough, we have to abide by our leader’s directive. After all, we are in Parliament because of her,” said a celebrity LS member of the party.