'Cut Money' issue: Local Trinamool leaders commit in writing to return bribes

For, elected members in municipalities and gram panchayats have been facing hundreds of people lining up at their doorsteps seeking refunds ever since.

Published: 24th June 2019 04:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2019 10:46 AM   |  A+A-

TMC supremo and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

TMC supremo and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

KOLKATA: When West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched internal cleansing in her Trinamool Congress five days ago, asking party leaders to refund the cut money — euphemism for bribe — they collected from beneficiaries of the government’s welfare schemes, she couldn’t have imagined it would open a Pandora’s box. 

For, elected members in municipalities and gram panchayats have been facing hundreds of people lining up at their doorsteps seeking refunds ever since.

Public anger peaked on Sunday at two places, with agitators forcing local leaders to give written declarations that they would refund the money they took as commission.

ALSO READ | Bengali singer Nachiketa mocks Mamata, TMC with viral satirical song on 'cut money'

Angry villagers surrounded the houses of elected gram panchayat members at over 15 places in south Bengal on Sunday. At Oushgram in East Burdwan, local Trinamool leader Ujjwal Mondal admitted he had taken Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 from the beneficiaries of government schemes for running his party’s ‘welfare activities’ in the area.

ALSO READ | Keeping 2021 Assembly elections in mind, BJP to undertake organisational expansion in Bengal

Mondal had to give it in writing that he would refund the money. At Mangalkot nearby, three panchayat members — Kalimoy Ganguly, Apurba Ghosh and Raghunath Mondal — were similarly forced to give an undertaking in writing.

Over 50 villagers demonstrated before another panchayat member Jhilik Dutta at Sonamukhi in Bankura.

Two party leaders in Nanoor of Birbhum district, too, faced similar public anger.

ALSO READ | Media misreported on cut money, 99.99 per cent members are hard-working: TMC

Manimala Bagdi, a pregnant panchayat member of Fulur panchayat in Birbhum, had to flee her home fearing attack by villagers from whom her party’s leaders had extorted money.

Her husband Dalim said, “We are poor and know nothing about cut money. Local Trinamool leaders requested me to field my wife as a candidate on the seat reserved for women.”

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made Trinamool’s extortion a major political plank.

Senior Trinamool leaders saw in Mamata’s instructions an admission of corruption within the party.

“She realised corruption will hurt the party in the civic body elections in 2020 and Assembly elections in 2021,’’ said a senior Trinamool leader in Kolkata.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp