NB development minister Udayan Guha accused late CPM veteran Jyoti Basu, the second longest-serving chief minister of the country, of being involved in corruption.
Guha, who recently accused his father — former state minister and Forward Bloc veteran Kamal Guha who is no more — of indulging in corruption, has now named Basu in reference to admission of MBBS candidates through “chief minister’s quota” during the Left Front era
On Saturday evening, at a public meeting at Nayarhat in Cooch Behar, he said that during the Left rule, there were fewer seats in Bengal’s medical colleges and the chief minister had a “quota of 10 seats”.
“Then chief minister Jyoti Basu indulged in corruption. He had admitted the son of Manik Dutta, a CPM leader of Dinhata, into the medical course through the chief minister’s quota. This was also corruption.... Deserving students, who got first division marks (in HS exam) and qualified in Joint (entrance exam) then were deprived,” said Guha, also the Trinamul MLA of Dinhata.
Over the past few weeks, Trinamul leaders have raised questions over the recruitment of family members and relatives of Left leaders in state government departments through chirkuts (handwritten chits of recommendation).
The party has also published lists of such people to drive home the point that such recruitments deprived many eligible candidates.
However, this is the first time that a leader of Mamata Banerjee’s party has flagged Basu’s name in connection with the issue.
Political observers said such comments on Basu would not give any political dividend to Guha or Trinamul.
“It is surprising that a state minister is indulging in blatant impudence for political interest. Such attempts to malign political figures, be it his own father or the former chief minister, will hardly help him and his party. In Bengal, such political tactics have never worked, and in fact, proved detrimental,” said an observer.
Kunal Ghosh, Trinamul state general secretary, flagged the same issue on Sunday on social media but did not name any Left leader.
“During the Left regime, there was a quota system for admission in medical courses. In 2011, chief minister Mamata Banerjee removed the system. There are allegations that many candidates got a chance in medical studies without clearing the Joint Entrance Examination during the Left rule. CPM should come up with a full-fledged list of such candidates,” Ghosh tweeted.
Guha’s comments on Basu have not gone down well with his own party leaders. Earlier when he said his father had endorsed lists of Forward Bloc cadres for government jobs while depriving deserving candidates, his party and cabinet colleague Firhad Hakim openly disapproved of Guha’s theory.
“It seems Udayan Guha is suffering in an identity crisis and making such comments out of desperation. We may have political differences with the CPM but this is wrong.... He should assess his political status and that of Jyoti Basu, one of the tallest political figures of the country,” said a senior Trinamul functionary in Cooch Behar.
“A person who doesn’t respect his own father.... What else can we expect from him? It is better to ignore such remarks,” said Md Salim, state CPM secretary.