Central agencies threatening Trinamool leaders: Mamata

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday alleged that central agencies are threatening Trinamool leaders and elected representatives with jail term in chit fund scam cases if they did not join the BJP.

Central agencies threatening Trinamool leaders: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee addresses a rally to commemorate Martyrs’ Day in Kolkata on Sunday. PTI

editorial@tribune.com

Kolkata, July 21

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday alleged that central agencies are threatening Trinamool leaders and elected representatives with jail term in chit fund scam cases if they did not join the BJP.

Addressing the Martyrs’ Day rally here, she accused BJP of trying to replicate the “Karnataka model of horse-trading” by luring party MLAs with money and other perks. The BJP, however, dared Banerjee to name the CBI officers who had allegedly threatened TMC leaders to join the saffron camp and denied her other charges.

Banerjee, speaking at her first major rally after Lok Sabha polls that have given BJP an edge, also announced that the party will launch a statewide programme on July 26, demanding return of black money allegedly “siphoned off” by BJP.

The move is apparently aimed at weakening “cut money” protests faced by the TMC’s elected representatives from people demanding return of illegal commission they had allegedly collected from beneficiaries of government schemes.

“Central agencies are summoning our leaders and threatening elected representatives over chit fund scams, asking them to get in touch with BJP leaders or face prison terms and consequences like Sudip Bandopadhyay or Tapas Pal. They are also calling a few actors and other eminent personalities,” she claimed.

Bandopadhyay, TMC’s LS party leader, and Pal, ex-MP, were arrested by the CBI in Rose Valley ponzi scam in January 2017 and December 2016. Currently, both are out on bail. “The BJP is trying to replicate the Karnataka model of horse-trading everywhere. They think they can buy out everybody,” she alleged.

State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said, “I challenge her to name CBI officers who threatened her leaders. If she is unable to name any officer, she should refrain from making baseless allegations”.

The TMC chief asked party cadres to launch a movement against BJP demanding "return of black money and cut money taken in Ujjawala scheme" from July 26.

While criticising BJP and its policies during her 60-minute speech, she did not take names of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP president Amit Shah. "I had a noble intention when I cautioned my partymen to ensure that people are not deprived of our government's welfare schemes.... But BJP misinterpreted it," she said.

She asked BJP from where did it get the money to campaign for the general election in such a luxurious way. "Ask BJP to return the black money first. They had promised to give back Rs 15 lakh. Where is that money? Return the cut money taken in Rafale deal," the TMC chief said. — TNS/PTI

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