Mamata Banerjee on Friday described Mahua Moitra’s expulsion from the Lok Sabha as the “murder of democracy” and expressed “shock” and “sadness” before thanking the INDIA bloc for rallying around the feisty Trinamul MP.
The Bengal chief minister, who was on a tour of north Bengal, held an impromptu media conference in Kurseong following Moitra’s expulsion over the cash-for-query controversy.
“In this particular case, I am telling you that Mahua is a victim of circumstances, and I strongly condemn it,” Mamata said, issuing her strongest statement of support for Moitra since the allegations against the MP emerged weeks ago.
“This is unacceptable. This is injustice. This is irreparable... and Mahua will win the next battle. The people will give a befitting reply to the BJP. I believe so.”
Mamata referred to how Moitra was expelled through a voice vote.
“The vote is not recorded there. By a show of hands, by shouting, without giving any scope…. Just passed. Pass, pass, pass. They conducted a bypass surgery on democracy,” she said. “Democracy was murdered. I condemn it.”
Asked whether she would field Moitra in the Lok Sabha elections next year, the Trinamul chief said she was yet to see why not.
“I am yet to see a reason for her not to be (a candidate). Besides, she is party president for Krishnanagar (organisational) district,” she said.
Mamata’s unequivocal support for Moitra, multiple sources in Trinamul said, led to some interesting developments within the party ranks. Trinamul MPs such as Kalyan Banerjee — known for his anti-Moitra rants in public — were seen shouting in her support.
Mamata said: “The party fully supports Mahua. She was elected by the people, and she is a woman belonging to the younger generation.... They did not allow Mahua to take her own stand, to explain her situation.”
The chief minister appreciated the support Moitra had received from the INDIA constituents. “Today, I congratulate INDIA, all of them stood together. We are united. We fought back,” she said.
Mamata said the BJP’s attitude had saddened her. She wondered how MPs could be expected to go through the 500-odd pages of the Ethics Committee’s report, make up their mind and participate in the discussion that preceded Moitra’s expulsion -- all within a half-hour. She accused the BJP of “vendetta politics” and wondered whether the party had any shame.
“In this, they have defrauded the people. If you are indeed that powerful, you could have defeated her in a fair, poll contest. Instead of that, with just two-three months remaining, what happened that you had to throw out a young woman MP?” she said.
“I thought the Prime Minister must have considered it. But just now… when I got all the information, I was shocked. It’s a sad day for the Indian Parliament.”
Mamata added: “So, only one session remains. For that, Mahua can attend the public parliament, outside the House. It will boost her moral image, and it will boost her morality. She should fight it boldly. We will fight it boldly. These two-three months, no matter. What matters is the decision.”
She continued: “Politically, we will fight. People will fight. People will give justice, I believe so. They (the BJP) will be defeated in the next election. It is my total conviction.”
BJP Lok Sabha member Nishikant Dubey had in October complained to Speaker Om Birla against Moitra on the basis of allegations levelled by Moitra’s former partner, Supreme Court advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai.
Trinamul’s top leadership — Mamata and nephew Abhishek Banerjee — had remained silent for several weeks, triggering speculation whether Moitra enjoyed their backing. However, both spoke out in Moitra’s favour last month, and she was appointed Trinamul district president for Krishnanagar as part of an organisational shuffle.