The Trinamul Congress threw its weight behind the party's Krishnanagar MP Mahua Moitra yet again on Monday with Abhishek Banerjee reiterating support for her in the face of a recommendation for her expulsion from the Lok Sabha over the “cash-for-query” controversy.
“Mahua Moitra is capable of fighting her own battles, independently,” the Trinamul national general secretary told journalists at the Calcutta airport.
“The party is together and people can see that…. The party stands with her on this issue,” he added.
On November 9, Abhishek had said: “I feel this step by the central government… and from what I read of the ethics committee report, they have said an investigation should happen against her.”
“If you do not have anything against Mahua, and it is the subject of investigation, why has an expulsion been recommended? I feel Mahua is competent enough to fight her own battles,” he had added.
The Lok Sabha Ethics Committee, chaired by the BJP’s Vinod Kumar Sonkar, had submitted its report recommending Moitra’s expulsion for accepting “illegal gratifications” for raising questions in the House.
Moitra had dismissed the decision as a “prefixed match by a kangaroo court” and called it a “death of parliamentary democracy”.
On Monday, in the context of Moitra, Abhishek also brought up the alleged harassment he and his family faced from central probe agencies.
“Me and my family are harassed by the ED and the CBI… my wife, and my parents were harassed. My wife and I have been present before the agencies for a total of 12 times in the past few years. One has to fight their own battles. The party is with them,” he said. “Double-engine means ED-CBI.”
He also responded to questions on the speculated rift between him and his aunt (Mamata Banerjee) over an alleged tussle between the party’s so-called old guard (which she represents) and the new (which he represents) for supremacy.
“There is no distance between me and anyone else. I have just not attended one programme (on November 23). Some individuals have given their opinions. It is okay,” he said, referring to contradictory statements over the past few days from Trinamul’s state general secretary Kunal Ghosh, perceived to represent the Abhishek “faction”, and Dum Dum MP Saugata Roy, perceived to be part of the old guard.
“The picture of the chairperson (Mamata) was there (at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on November 23),” he added.
Asked about the contentious subject of setting an age ceiling for the party, Abhishek once again threw his weight behind the concept.
“Veteran leaders are extremely necessary for any party because of their experience in the fight. However, their productivity decreases slightly with age,” Abhishek said on Monday, once again in contradiction to his aunt’s declared philosophy, which she underscored even on November 23.
“I think there should be a maximum limit (age-wise) in every field, from sports to politics,” he added.
The chief minister, however, is unwilling to lose sleep at the moment over Abhishek's displeasure, said a Trinamul insider.