KOLKATA: A day after TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee directed party leaders to give back the money if they had taken any bribe from beneficiaries of government schemes, elected representatives faced public ire in various parts of the state Wednesday with the people demanding return of the "cut money".
Angry people gheraoed TMC leaders and elected representatives of panchayats and municipalities in the districts of Birbhum, Malda, Purulia and Bankura.
They demanded that the Trinamool Congress leaders return the money allegedly taken from them to provide them benefits from various schemes of the government.
"They (TMC leaders) should return the money they have taken from us. These are government schemes for us. These are our rights. Why should we give cut money to avail benefits of those schemes?" said a protestor at Ilambazar in Birbhum district.
The protestor, along with others, was in a sit-in demonstration outside the residence of a local TMC leader.
A similar incident took place at Barjora in Bankura district where local people shouted slogans against TMC members in the panchayat and demanded immediate return of the "bribe" they had allegedly taken from them. A huge police contingent went to the spot to control the situation.
The protest came a day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told party councillors that she had received complaints of seeking bribe even from beneficiaries of the 'Samabyathi' scheme in which a one-time payment of Rs 2,000 is given to poor people for performing the last rites of a family member.
"I do not want to keep thieves in my party. If I take action they will join some other party. Some leaders are claiming 25 per cent commission for providing housing grants to the poor. This should stop immediately. Return the money if any of you have taken it," Banerjee had said.
The CM had also said corruption victims could write to the Chief Minister's Office directly.
The TMC leadership declined to comment on the protest, but the BJP and the CPI(M) got another issue to attack the ruling party.
"This is people's outburst against the TMC. The people are fed up with the cut money and syndicate culture of the TMC in the state. Such protests will increase in the days to come," BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said.
CPM central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said since 2011, West Bengal has been known for syndicate culture brought in by the TMC.
In West Bengal, 'syndicate' means the business run by persons allegedly enjoying political patronage, who force promoters and contractors to buy construction materials, often of inferior quality at high prices.
Meanwhile, a TMC leader was arrested in Malda district on the charges of corruption, police said.
Sukesh Yadav, the pradhan of Mahanandatola gram panchayat, was accused of embezzling around Rs one crore from the funds of the MGNREGA.
Yadav claimed that he has been framed.