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‘Cut money’ fallout: CM Mamata Banerjee sacks Hooghly district unit chief Tapan Dasgupta

Dasgupta, who represents Saptagram Assembly constituency, has been accused of misappropriating funds meant for public schemes and taking kickbacks from people for adding them as beneficiaries in government schemes.

Written by Sweety Kumari | Kolkata |
Updated: July 5, 2019 8:23:29 am
mamata banerjee, tmc cut money, TMC bengal, West bengal, cut money bengal, tmc workers, bengal tmc workers, west bengal, birbhum, west bengal news Mamata Banerjee clarified that the circular was not meant to divide students on the basis of religion. (PTI)

In THE first political fallout of the ‘cut-money’ scandal that has hit the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday removed minister Tapan Dasgupta from the post of Hooghly district unit president, days after his name cropped up in the kickback row. Dasgupta has been replaced by local leader Dilip Yadav.

Part I | Grassroot TMC leaders face cut-money blowback in Bengal: ‘Can’t return home’

Dasgupta, who represents Saptagram Assembly constituency, has been accused of misappropriating funds meant for public schemes and taking kickbacks from people for adding them as beneficiaries in government schemes. Last week, people, who had allegedly paid “cut money” to the minister to avail government benefits, had demonstrated outside his Phulpukur house in Hooghly, demanding a refund. Several CPM councillors also accused Dasgupta of misappropriating public funds — a charge rejected by the TMC MLA.

In the wake of the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha elections, Banerjee had directed TMC leaders to return the “cut money” if they had taken it from the beneficiaries.

 | In West Bengal, TMC men’s cut money rate list: Rs 200 for last rites, Rs 25,000 for house

Notably, the decision to replace Dasgupta as party’s Hooghly district unit chief also comes in the backdrop of TMC losing the Hooghly parliamentary constituency to the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

Reacting to the TMC chief’s decision of removing him from the post, Dasgupta, who holds the agriculture marketing portfolio in the cabinet, said it was not true that was being sidelined in the party. “I will look after the ministry. I think new people should also get chance. I will also look after the district. Dilip (Yadav) has been working with me closely. Didi (Banerjee) wanted to make him (Hooghly district unit) president, and there he has been appointed… It is all rumour that I am being sidelined,” Dasgupta told The Indian Express.

Part III | TMC cornered, BJP takes lead in tracking cut money agents

He also rejected the allegations of taking “cut money” from people. “There are no such allegations against me. I have not taken any ‘cut money’. It’s all a rumour. I have never been involved in such things,” he said.

Sources in the ruling TMC said that the party leadership was not happy with the functioning of its Hooghly unit as BJP the gained ground in the district and went on to snatch the seat from it in the Lok Sabha elections. During a recent party meeting, Mamata had even reprimanded Dasgupta for the party’s defeat in Hooghly.

After BJP’s Locket Chatterjee won from Hooghly, Mamata had created a new post of chairman for its Hooghly unit to closely monitor the party’s performance in the district.

Former MP Ratna Dey was appointed the chairman and four TMC leaders were appointed as convenors.

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