Mamata MLA’s latest salvo: Trinamool leaders extorting money

Express news service Posted: Nov 28, 2012 at 0420 hrs
Kolkata Stays firm Will reveal his future plan to his supporters at home.

Trinamool Congress MLA from Singur, Rabindranath Bhattacharya, who resigned from Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet after he was shifted from agriculture department, on Tuesday said that he has taken a final decision about his future course of action, which he would reveal it to his party workers in Singur.

Making it amply clear that the relations between him and his party have soured, the teacher-turned-politician, who played a very crucial role during Mamata Banerjee’s anti-land acquisition movement in Singur, said a section of Trinamool leaders were extorting money from different segments and the party’s top leadership knows about it.

“I have taken the final decision which will not be changed under any circumstances. But I will only announce it before my workers in Singur to whom I am answerable,” Bhattacharya told The Indian Express. If Bhattacharya’s close aides are to be believed, he in all likelihood will step down from the Trinamool Congress and give up all political activities.

Remaining firm on his decision, Bhattacharya said he had given some proposals to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after he was told that Becharam Manna will join agriculture department as a junior minister. “I was told that I would be communicated by the chief minister about my proposals in a couple of days. But till today, I have not received any communication,” he said.

The 79-year old school teacher said the only communication he got from the chief minister was a caution asking him not to say anything in the media that can harm the image of the party and the government.

“To the government and to the chief minister, it is immaterial if I stay in the cabinet or I stay in the party at all. I have become almost non-existent for them and they have decided to ignore me. I am fine with this,” an upset Bhattacharya added.

Later in the day, he received a call from the chief minister’s office asking him to be present at the administrative meeting of the chief minister on November 30 in Singur. “I have decided that I will not attend the meeting if my present status is not clarified. I am yet to receive any letter from the CMO. But if the letter is addressed to Rabindranath Bhattacharya without any designation, I will not attend the meeting,” he added.

Meanwhile, levelling the charge that some party leaders are extorting money from people, Bhattacharya said: “No action is being taken to stop such malpractices.” he said.

He once again reiterated that he was removed from the agriculture department because he refused to give up his moral stand on certain issues. “I have seen my party members collecting money from the masses and asking for money against any job they do for them,” he said.

BJP says Trinamool exposed, offers entry to the MLA

The West Bengal unit of the BJP slammed the Trinamool saying the Singur MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharya’s latest allegations have exposed the practice of extortion carried out by the TMC supporters at grassroots level, “just like what it used to be during the CPM reign”. State BJP president Rahul Sinha said the extortionists were the same people who used to be with the CPM earlier and now have “changed jerseys”. He appreciated Bhattacharya’s comments and suggested that he should immediately quit the TMC. “He is a learned and honourable person and should not stick to a party which is riddled with corrupt people.” Asked if he wanted Bhattacharya to join the BJP, he said, “He is an honest man and someone like him is always welcome in the BJP.”