Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday warned the leaders of her party Trinamool Congress (TMC) that corruption allegations against no one in the party would be tolerated.
The TMC chief’s remarks, which were made during an online meeting organised to discuss the party’s Martyrs’ Day even on July 21, came in the backdrop of allegations of misappropriation in Cyclone Amphan relief funds. Many local Trinamool leaders across the state have been accused of embezzling the money meant for people affected in the storm. The Opposition and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar have also repeatedly questioned the government on the matter.
“We will not tolerate corruption. Those who are involved in the corruption of Amphan cyclone relief, they will not be spared. The administration will take action against them. Those who are involved in corruption, the party will take action against them. We will appoint new leaders in the party. No leader is indispensable,” said Banerjee.
Many villagers in South Bengal, which bore the brunt of the cyclone, have accused local TMC leaders of adding their relatives’ name to the list of beneficiaries, and cheating people who need the money.
These accusations have fuelled the Opposition’s attacks on the government. Last week, Banerjee was forced to announce that new lists of beneficiaries would be prepared, and people affected in the cyclone would be allowed to apply again if they were left out the first time.
Referring to Banerjee, a senior TMC leader said, “Didi realised that the corruption allegations are destroying the party’s image. So, she decided to take stern action against those facing such allegations.”
Shifting focus on next year’s Assembly elections, the TMC chief announced a programme of demonstrations that the party would stage between July 6 and 13 to protest against rising fuel prices, privatisation of railways, and 100% FDI in the coal sector.
“BJP leaders are taking to the streets, campaigning against the government. Why are you sitting at home? You people should come out from home and campaign against BJP and its anti-people policies,” Banerjee said.
She told her party MLAs that “you have to win the election on your own”, and instructed them to step up interactions with people. “Go to the people, listen to their allegations and advise also,” the Chief Minister added.
Banerjee said all necessary health protocols would be followed at the protests, and people would not be inconvenienced. On July 7, the TMC will hold demonstrations at railway stations against the privatisation of Indian Railways. Railway Board Chairperson VK Yadav has said that private train operators could be expected to start running passenger trains by April 2023.
On July 8, the Trinamool plans to protest against recent hikes in fuel prices, and the following day demonstrations will be organised against the introduction of 100% FDI in the coal sector. The TMC, on July 10, will protest against the Centre’s decision to transfer the supervisory role and management responsibilities of state cooperative banks to the Reserve Bank of India. At the meeting, Banerjee directed the party not to make statements on the conflict between India and China.
Rajya Sabha MP Subhashish Chakraborty was chosen as the party’s treasurer.
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