Solidarity and support may have poured in for Trinamul Congress’s expelled parliamentarian Mahua Moitra from leaders across the board in the opposition INDIA bloc within the Lok Sabha floor and outside. But that one support she, most certainly, looked forward to came from the hills of Darjeeling where Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was camped on Friday.
“Mahua, I tell you, is a victim of the circumstances. I strongly condemn this (the expulsion) and the party completely stands with Mahua. Our party, along with our INDIA alliance partners, will fight this together. This matter opened our eyes yet again about the vindictive politics which the BJP plays. It is unfortunate for the democracy (of India),” Banerjee said at Kurseong, minutes after Moitra’s expulsion was pushed through in the Lok Sabha.
“Today, I am really sad to see the attitude of the BJP party. I don't understand how the (Lok Sabha) members could go through the 495 pages within half an hour and how all the speakers could take a decision (on what the report says). I congratulate the INDIA alliance for remaining united and fighting back,” the Trinamul Congress chief continued.
“The party fully supports Mahua’s case. They (the BJP) betrayed democracy and did not allow Mahua to explain her situation and allow her to speak in her self defense. They have done injustice (to her). They used their brute majority to betray Constitutional rights and ditch the people, the Parliament and democracy. They may be the majority today. But tomorrow, that may not be the case,” Banerjee lashed out at the BJP.
This was the first time that Banerjee came out in open support for Moitra despite, initially, choosing to remain non-committal on her MP getting dragged into the ‘cash-for-queries’ imbroglio. Earlier in November, though, the party supremo made clear her support for Moitra by approving the party’s decision to make her president of the Krishnanagar organization district. Trinamul’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee had also made his support for the embattled parliamentarian unambiguous when Moitra was in the middle of the row.
Asked whether the party would give Moitra a ticket for the upcoming general elections, Banerjee said: “As of now I see no reason why she shouldn’t get the ticket. She has already been appointed the president of her district. Plus she was defeated in a voice vote, instead of a proper division where the voting records are kept. It was like doing a bypass surgery on democracy.”
“Mahua may not be able to attend one Parliament session. But she can attend the people’s parliament right outside her house. It will boost her morale and image. She should fight this boldly and we will fight this boldly (along with her),” Banerjee stated. “A couple of months (outside parliament) wouldn’t matter much. But what matters is the decision (taken by the BJP)”.
“Mahua will win her battle and the people will give their befitting reply to the BJP, is what I believe. We will fight them politically and my conviction is that people will defeat them in the next election,” she added.
Expressing her exasperation at PM Modi’s non-interference in the day’s developments at the Lok Sabha, Banerjee said: “I thought that the Prime Minister will reconsider it. But just now I have got the information (that there will be no such thing). I am shocked and it’s a sad day for the Indian Parliament.”
“Shame on BJP,” Banerjee burst out.
Calling the move “most unfortunate”, Banerjee said: “Mahua Moitra is an elected representative of the people of Krishnanagar. Failing to defeat her democratically, the BJP targeted a woman MP, someone who represented the young generation. This is a classic example of how democracy gets murdered by harassing a woman without allowing her the opportunity to defend herself. I condemn that act and want to say that our party stands with Mahua Moitra and will continue to stand by her,” she stated.
“We wanted justice to prevail, we had no objections to being judged. How can you initiate a CBI probe and expel someone at the same time? The elections are a barely few months away. At best, she could have attended one more session. You denied her that opportunity. This only goes to show how far the BJP can go to fulfill its agenda of retaliatory politics,” she added.
In a Facebook post written soon after, the Trinamul Congress summed up its stand on the Mahua episode. “We condemn the defamatory and disgraceful attempts of Bharatiya Janata Party as they stoop to a new low. BJP's misuse of the Parliamentary Ethics Committee is extremely appalling and reflects into their deplorable tactics to murder the constitutional values. Such heinous attempts to crush the opposition proves their inability to fight politically and serves as a stark reminder of their archaic mindset to muzzle the voice of powerful female leaders,” the post read.