KOLKATA: A day after ruling TMC national secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy hailed the CBI after he was quizzed in connection with the ongoing probe into the multi-crore Saradha scam, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday alleged foul play by the BJP with an aim to split the TMC.
Addressing an extended core committee meeting at her residence attended by most of the party MPs, several ministers and MLAs including Mukul, Mamata Banerjee alleged that, “The BJP is using the CBI and other Central agencies to terrorise elected representatives of the party to split us. The CBI probe is certainly a BJP conspiracy.”
“The CBI at the behest of the BJP Government at the Centre is trying to pressure Madan Mitra, Subhendu and Mukul to name many of our leaders,” she said, referring to state Transport Minister Mitra, arrested by the CBI and in jail and Lok Sabha MP Subhendu Adhikary, interrogated by the probe agency.
Mamata Banerjee even assured the TMC leaders saying that, “The CBI may even put us behind bars. But we are not scared of going to jail and none of you should panic. At any cost the party will stand beside anyone arrested.”
“We have to intensify our struggle against the BJP and combat them,” she said, sending a message to the party leaders that the main opponent for the ruling
party in West Bengal was the saffron brigade. Banerjee’s message to Mukul and other MPs and MLAs, who had demanded punishment for those involved in the multi-billion dollar Saradha scam, was to toe the official line about the CBI probe being a “BJP-sponsored conspiracy”.
However, Mukul Roy remarked that, “The party has stated its stand, but I have stated mine. Even if the CBI summons me one hundred times, I will go to the agency’s office to reply to their queries.”
This indicated a vertical split in the TMC leadership over the Saradha probe in which several TMC MPs have been interrogated by the Central agencies with Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose, who are currently in jail.
Unlike her usual self, Mamata Banerjee did not issue any warning to the dissident MPs and MLAs, who had recently voiced their opposition against the party leadership regarding corruption and the Saradha scam, but said, “We have to remain united throughout the Municipal polls and not let the BJP win one of them.”
Elections to 99 Municipalities in the state, including the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Biddhannagar Muncipality in Salt Lake are scheduled to take place in a few months’ time.
While the BJP during the Lok Sabha polls had secured a lead in the Salt Lake Assembly segment, the saffron brigade got around 22 percent votes in two seats in the metropolis and led in several wards of the KMC.
In order to placate rebellious leaders like dissenting Lok Sabha MP and former Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, who was conspicuous by his absence, or TMC MLA Sabyasachi Datta, a close aide of Mukul who had also refused to demonstrate against the CBI probe, Mamata Banerjee deputed them to oversee the campaign for the Bongaon LS seat.
Party insiders have said to the reporters that Mamata Banerjee was calm throughout the meeting and has asked the MPs to be more vociferous against the BJP-led government in the Centre.