Trinamul Congress sacks arrested youth leaders
The Trinamul Congress on Tuesday expelled its youth wing’s two leaders, Santanu Banerjee and Kuntal Ghosh, who had been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the school recruitment scam.
This is the first time the party has taken action against anybody arrested for alleged involvement in the scam since the ouster as minister and suspension from the party of former secretary-general Partha Chatterjee last year.
Senior Trinamul leaders and ministers Shashi Panja and Bratya Basu announced the expulsion of Santanu and Kuntal at a news conference and underscored Mamata Banerjee’s “zero tolerance” for graft.
“The party has absolutely nothing to do with any of this. If someone has misused their position in the party to serve their own interests, then the buck stops with them,” said industry minister Panja.
“The party has decided to expel Kuntal and Santanu,” she added.
The ED had arrested Kuntal in January and Santanu last week.
Trinamul is yet to take action against Palashipara MLA Manik Bhattacharya who had been arrested in connection with the same scam or its Birbhum strongman Anubrata Mondal who is in the custody of the ED in the cattle smuggling case.
Panja reiterated Trinamul’s charge that central agencies were targeting its leaders though office-bearers of other parties were also involved in the cases.
“A smear campaign is going on against Trinamul. Trinamul’s leaders and elected representatives are being attacked in multiple ways with an intention to cause damage to their prestige and reputation,” she said.
“Many political parties are involved in recruitment irregularities. But leaders from other political parties, who are publicly threatening Trinamul leaders inside the Assembly (a reference to leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari) — who have taken bribes on camera — are roaming around freely without any interrogation by the central investigative agencies,” she said, adding that large-scale corruption in BJP-ruled states went unpunished.
“When Union home minister Amit Shah was questioned about (Assam chief minister) Himanta Biswa Sarma’s corruption, he first deflected the question and then refused to answer.”
Education minister Basu demanded the interrogation by central agencies of Suvendu Adhikari and BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh in connection with the recruitment scam. “Since the BJP cannot fight us electorally, the party is resorting to politics of revenge. They are trying to brand us as corrupt. We have won election after election because of people’s love and will win panchayat elections as well,” he said.