Left Front did appointments with chirkut: Mamata Banerjee
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday spoke about alleged anomalies in government recruitments and transfers when the Left Front was in power for over 33 years as she sought to counter Opposition attack on her administration in connection with the ongoing controversy over School Service Commission appointments.
Although Mamata didn’t make any direct references to the alleged SSC scam, it was clear that last few weeks’ developments — like adverse remarks from the high court and CBI summons to Trinamul ministers — were playing in her mind when she made the comment at a political rally in Jhargram.
“They (the Left Front government) would make transfers and recruitments on the basis of a chirkut. I’ve come to know a lot about the CPM’s 34 years. I shall open these chapters slowly. I haven’t done anything yet out of courtesy,” Mamata said.
A chirkut is a small hand-written note. Stories of how such notes from leaders landed CPM comrades and their relatives government jobs can be heard in administrative circles even 11 years after the change of guard in Bengal.
After attacking the Left, she took a dig at the BJP-led Union government for putting people close to them in-charge of all “important institutions”. The BJP led by Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari has accused Mamata herself of being responsible for the SSC recruitment scam. Trinamul leaders think the BJP is behind a slew of court cases over the recruitment anomalies, which finally led to a CBI probe.
“The BJP has unleashed a Tughlaqi rule in the country today through a few central agencies. Nobody has the right to live, the right to independence or the citizens’ rights. They have destroyed all the rights of the citizenry,” Mamata said during her half-an hour speech.
Some history books have often mentioned the whimsical approach of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq, a ruler from the Tughlaq dynasty, and that is why the word “Tughlaqi” is often used to summarise a whimsical or eccentric person.
Mamata’s twin attacks on the Left and the BJP — both parties have been relentless in their attack on the chief minister — came a day after the perceived number two of her cabinet — current industry minister and former education minister Partha Chatterjee — was quizzed by the CBI in connection with the alleged SSC scam. Another member of her council of ministers, Paresh Adhikary, has also been summoned by the CBI.
Amid the row over recruitments, the state government appointed Shubhra Chakraborty as the chairperson of the SSC on Wednesday. Chakraborty is the first civil servant to have taken up this role, which sources at Nabanna said was an attempt at course correction.
The fact that the state government was considering a rethink of the recruitment process was also hinted at by Mamata in her address.
“If there are some mistakes while doing something, some opportunity should be given to rectify them.… The law must be allowed to be enacted,” she said, hinting at some forthcoming changes.
The chief minister sought to highlight how the BJP was allegedly trying to malign Bengal — by creating narratives on corruption in the state and political violence against Opposition parties — with a political motive.
“They are not even ashamed that they lost here. They are afraid.… Now, they have to win 2024 Loksabha elections and hence, are spreading lies about violence. Where do they see all this violence?” Mamata asked before claiming that the police took appropriate action after every incident in Bengal.