West Bengal Election: CM Mamata Banerjee hits out at BJP for flying rebel TMC leaders to Delhi in chartered plane

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February 04, 2021 8:38 AM

Newly inducted BJP leader Rajib Banerjee, who quit TMC and was among those who took take the chartered flight, slammed her for levelling allegations of corruption against him.

West Bengal election: BJP TMCWest Bengal: Those who want to leave TMC can go ahead, the doors (of the party) are open. But if you are in the party, you have to work as a disciplined soldier, said Mamata Banerjee.

West Bengal Election: The TMC and the BJP hit out at each other on Wednesday in poll-bound West Bengal over defections with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee saying it was ironical that the Centre did not have funds to bear the travel expenses of migrant workers but corrupt leaders were flown to Delhi in a chartered plane.

Newly inducted BJP leader Rajib Banerjee, who quit TMC and was among those who took take the chartered flight, slammed her for levelling allegations of corruption against him.

He said if indeed he was corrupt then why did the TMC hold talks with him to retain him in the party after he resigned from the state cabinet last month.

Mamata Banerjee, who is also the TMC supremo, training her guns at deserters of the party said the turncoats would be defeated in the coming assembly polls.

Addressing a meeting of TMC workers at Alipurduar in north Bengal, she asked “fence sitters” in the party to quit as early as possible.

Without naming Rajib Banerjee who was the forest minister, she alleged that irregularities have been detected in the recruitment of forest department personnel during his tenure.

“A person who was responsible for the recruitment of ‘Bana Sahayaks’ in the forest department indulged in corrupt methods. We will investigate it. Everything will be probed,” she said at a party meeting here.

Keeping up her attack, she said “The person after indulging in corruption, has now joined BJP. He is now lecturing others,” she said.

The fiesty TMC chief said, “Those who want to leave TMC can go ahead, the doors (of the party) are open. But if you are in the party, you have to work as a disciplined soldier.

“Let me tell you that the ones who have switched political allegiance will be defeated in the assembly polls, their shops will be closed after the polls,” she said.

Banerjee, who is among the vocal critics of BJP, said the saffron party can “buy” some corrupt leaders of the TMC but can never buy a dedicated member or cadre of her party.

“There are certain leaders who are lobhi (greedy) and “bhogi” (one who enjoys facilities) They might quit the party, but the dedicated ones will stay,” she said.

Claiming that MLA tickets are up for sale in the BJP, Banerjee said that her party, on the other hand, “rewards hard work and dedication”.

She iterated that the BJP had turned itself into washing machine, where “tainted leaders come out clean after joining the saffron camp”.

Taking a dig at the BJP for sending a chartered plane to fly TMC “turncoats” to Delhi for induction in the saffron camp, Banerjee said Prime Minister Narendra Modi owes an explanation to the nation as to why the Centre could not bear the travel expenditure of migrant workers who were forced to return to their native homess during the lockdown but had enough to transport corrupt leaders by air.

“During the COVID crisis, we paid for the transportation of migrant workers. The BJP government did not pay any money. The prime minister could not spend money on migrant labourers, who walked hundreds of kilometres to reach their homes. More than 100 such workers died on the roads.

“But the same union government has the money to fly corrupt leaders to New Delhi in chartered planes. The prime minister should give a reply… This shows the BJP government’s true colours,” she said.

Addressing a rally in Hooghly, Rajib Banerjee said efforts had been made by the TMC leaders to coerce him to recruit only TMC workers as ‘Bana Sahayaks’ and no action was taken though he had informed the chief minister.

“I believe in maintaining decorum in politics. Just because I have joined another party doesn’t mean I will start abusing leaders of my former party…I want to remind her that to ensure transparent recruitment I had handed it over to a board,” he said.

“In October last year I had informed the chief minister how an influential TMC leader from Birbhum wanted all the TMC cadres to be recruited as Bana Sahayaks. But the chief minister herself told me to see that in every district TMC cadres who have nothing should be recruited.

“I want to say that several TMC leaders, including leaders in Kalighat (area where Mamata Banerjee lives in Kolkata) had recommended their candidates,” he said.

Rajib Banerjee asked the chief minister to cancel the entire panel of Bana Sahayaks instead of raising “baseless” allegations. “I want the chief minister to order an investigation into all the contractual appointments during the TMC regime,” he said.

Reacting to the chief minister’s allegations against Rajib Banerjee, the BJP accused her of pursuing the “politics of vendetta” to “settle scores” with those who had defected.

“When Rajib Banerjee was with the TMC and part of the state cabinet, he happened to be a person of immaculate character. Now that he has joined the BJP, he has become corrupt.

“If indeed he was involved in corruption, then why no action was taken against him so far? The people of the state understand such tricks very well,” state BJP vice-president Jaiprakash Majumdar said.

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