February 2, 2021 3:20:40 am
The exodus of ministers and legislators from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the poll-bound West Bengal continued on Monday as two-time Diamond Harbour MLA Dipak Haldar resigned from the party after accusing its leadership of not allowing him to work for people.
Haldar’s comments came even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at the BJP, calling it “a gas balloon alive only in the media” and a “washing machine” for those with ill-gotten money. She said those who quit the TMC to join the BJP in recent months did so to secure the money they had accumulated. She labelled such leaders “dacoits”.
“I am a two-time MLA. But, since 2017, I have not been allowed to work properly for the masses. Despite informing the leadership, no action was taken to improve the situation. I was not informed about any party programme. I am answerable to the people of my constituency and supporters,” Haldar told reporters, adding that he had decided to quit the party.
In the evening, he sent his resignation to TMC state president Subrata Bakshi and South 24 Parganas district unit president Subhasish Chakraborty.
“I have sent my resignation letter to the district and state president this evening through speed post. I thank Mamata Banerjee for allowing me to serve as an MLA,” he added.
Haldar, who is considered to be a close associate of BJP leader Sovan Chatterjee since the latter’s days in the TMC, accused a section of the TMC leadership of harassing him and his family members. “Just because of differences with me, my family members were also harassed. Why should I tolerate this humiliation? I don’t deserve this,” he added.
The MLA, however, said he was not resigning as MLA as he is committed to the people of his constituency. He also remained tight-lipped when asked if he was planning to join the BJP. In 2015, Haldar was suspended from the party after he was arrested for his alleged involvement in a clash between rival factions of the party’s students’ front in a district college. He later got bail and was reinstated in the party.
Meanwhile, at a state-level meeting of the All India Fair Price Shop Dealers Federation at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here, Mamata Banerjee said, “There is nothing to worry about. The government of ‘Ma-Mati-Manush’ [TMC slogan] will retain power in the state…BJP is a gas balloon, alive only in the media. They have money and are using agencies to put up [party] flags on the streets. Let them do so and stay alive in the media…TMC will stay alive in your hearts. You assure me this and I will ensure you a [good] future.”
The TMC chief added, “Dacoits have suddenly accumulated so much money. Now, they are approaching the ‘BJP washing machine’ where they are entering black and coming out white. They are going there for the money and nothing else. I would not have given them the ticket to fight the elections. Why should I give tickets to those who have done bad work? People will be happy if I give tickets to new people instead of these people.”
Later in the day, referring to the BJP sending a chartered plane to fly former TMC leaders, including Rajib Banerjee and Baishali Dalmiya, to Delhi for their induction into the saffron party, Banerjee said the Opposition party doesn’t have money to pay for the travel of migrant workers but has the money to fly “corrupt leaders” in chartered planes.
“During Covid, we paid for the transportation of migrant workers. But, they [BJP] have money for using chartered planes to fly corrupt leaders to New Delhi. This only shows their true colour,” she added.
Since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in which the BJP bagged 18 seats, 17 TMC MLAs, one Trinamool MP, three state legislators each from the Congress and the CPI(M), and one from the CPI have joined the saffron outfit. However, except former state Cabinet ministers
Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee, none of them have resigned as MLAs.
(With PTI inputs)
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