Kolkata: Hitting out at TMC-turncoat Rajib Banerjee, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banejree on Wednesday accused him of ‘malpractice’ in appointing several ‘gana sahayak’ (helpers) posts and claimed that an investigation has been initiated on the issue.
Addressing a mega public rally in Alipurduar in north Bengal, Mamata Banerjee said, “One person recently switched to the BJP. I have received several complaints against him. We found several malpractices on his part while appointing ‘gana sahayak’ (helpers) posts. I have ordered a probe.”
On January 22, Rajib Banerjee resigned from Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet and claimed that he had wanted to quit the party in 2018 after he was removed from the state irrigation department without any consultation.
While accusing the BJP of selling tickets to candidates during elections, Mamata Banerjee said that the only fields deserving candidates. She said, “I am happy to get rid of rotten elements in my party. Those who joined BJP are ‘lobhi’ (greedy). If there are any fence-sitters left, I would like to tell them to leave TMC immediately to join the BJP ahead of the assembly elections. I would like to make it clear that TMC doesn't sell tickets and we will field deserving candidates who worked for the people. We are not like the BJP that sell tickets. In my party, booth workers are above party leaders. My booth workers are my assets."
“It is unfortunate that those who didn’t work for the people and cheated them were welcomed in the BJP and given private planes so that they can comfortably travel to New Delhi. During the lockdown we have seen how the central government stuffed migrant workers in trains and sent them to their respective states. The greedy politicians were treated with private planes and hungry migrants workers were stuffed inside trains,” she said.
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not fulfilling his promise to re-open tea gardens in North Bengal, she said, “During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls they made false promises and looted all your votes and support. That was a political gimmick. As promised by them, not a single tea garden (which they promised) was re-opened. Don’t you feel cheated?”
Claiming that Assembly election dates will be declared in a week in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee said, “I know election dates will be declared in a week. Therefore, those who are unable to get their Swasthya Sathi cards will be given another card where biometric will not be required for the time being. Later, we will update those cards with biometrics. This temporary card (without biometrics) will equally work as a normal Swasthya Sathi card. It will be done soon because we don’t want people to suffer due to the election and its formalities.”
She said, “There are party leaders who are leaving TMC and joining ‘BJP washing machine’ to hide their ill-gotten money. They are leaving because they know I am not going to give them tickets to contest the upcoming Assembly Polls. Why should I give tickets to those who worked for nothing? This time, I will give tickets to only those party leaders who worked for the people honestly. I am happy to get rid of corrupt leaders from my party.”
For Mamata Banerjee, north Bengal became a sore point after TMC’s devastating performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Out of eight Lok Sabha seats — Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Raiganj, Balurghat, North Malda and South Malda — in the region, TMC failed to secure even one. Seven were won by the BJP, while the Malda South seat was won by the late Ghani Khan Chowdhury’s brother Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury (Congress), popularly known as ‘Dalu da’.
In Malda North, BJP’s Khagen Murmu defeated sitting MP Mausam Noor (former Congress MP but fought last Lok Sabha on TMC ticket), while in Malda South ‘Dalu da’ won the seat by defeating BJP’s Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury.
BJP’s Nisith Pramanik, John Barla, Jayanta Kumar Ray, Raju Singh Bisht, Deboshree Chaudhary, Sukanta Majumdar and Khagen Murmu had sent shock waves in the TMC camp by winning Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Raiganj, Balurghat and North Malda respectively in the last Lok Sabha.