It is highly improbable that all these numerous scams, violence and suppression of democracy would be happening in the state without the tactical approval and blessings from the Chief Minister’s Office
It was famously said “what West Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow”. This was when West Bengal was a hub of industries, academia, art, culture, and economics. Following Independence, West Bengal was one of the more developed states in India, contributing over 30 per cent to the national GDP. It was one of the most industrialized states, with the highest literacy rates in the country. However, today, West Bengal has been relegated to one of the most regressive and repressive states in the nation, and it did not happen overnight. Faulty policies and priorities of successive Congress, CPIM and TMC governments have contributed towards the downfall of this glorious state. When the Communists were removed from power, West Bengal had a debt of Rs 1.95 Lakh crores. In the past 11-years under TMC, this debt has ballooned to around Rs 5.62 Lakh crores, a rise of around three hundred percent.
I am worried, if concrete steps are not taken to styme this downfall, and urgently at that, the situation in West Bengal may become unredeemable.
Teachers’ recruitment scam: Tip of the ghotala iceberg
Imagine, in a state where the proverbial “मेरी मर्जी के बिना यहाँ परिन्दा भी पर नहीं मार सकता — even a bird cannot flap its wing here without my permission” is true, when it comes to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s dictatorial way of functioning, we are being asked to believe that only Partha Chatterjee was involved in the currently unfolding Teachers’ Recruitment Ghotala (scam).
These ghotalas are not confined to School Service Commission (SSC) alone, but rather there have been ghotals in the College Service Commission (CSC) recruitment, Medical College recruitments, Engineering College recruitments. In 2016, TMC indulged in the State Level Selection Test (SLST) Ghotala, and Group C and Group D Recruitment Ghotala. Between 2013-16, TMC indulged in Primary Teacher’s Recruitment Ghotala, and Upper Primary Teachers’ Recruitment Ghotala. All these cases are being investigated by CBI, following the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court orders.
In Darjeeling-Kalimpong region, the situation is even worse, there is no SSC or CSC. Recruitments to schools and colleges are given the basis of candidate’s allegiance to TMC, without even conducting interviews. There has been massive corruption in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration teacher’s recruitment too, and the case is also being heard by the Calcutta High Court.
Fact of the matter is that every TMC leader is a part of this “Syndicate Raj” who have openly indulge in the ‘Cut-money’ and ‘Tolabaazi’ culture and looting of the public funds. These are not just my assertions, but Mamata ji herself accepted this fact, and mandated all TMC leaders and people’s representatives at all levels to return the ‘cut money’ they have extorted from the common people since 2011 before the 2021 legislative elections.
The recent revelations made by Partha Chatterjee himself alludes to the fact that the money recovered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is not his alone, but belongs to many other leaders in the party.
Imagine, the extent of TMC ‘tolabaazi’ culture, that the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina ji had to call Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee requesting her help in stopping extortion of money from her relative by TMC councillor earlier.
TMC stopped functioning like a political party a long time back, but it rather functions as a family enterprise, run by the ‘Boss’ and her ‘Nephew’ with iron hands at the top. This is why, I strongly believe that the ED has only scratched at the surface of the TMC Ghotala racket, and the deeper they dig, the more rot they will find. Because, TMC’s origin story itself is grounded in looting of funds from the general public.
Painting ‘cheat’ funds
It would not be wrong to state that the foundations of Trinamool Congress was laid on the carcass of the blood, sweat, dreams and aspirations of the common people, which they looted through multiple Chit Funds like Sharada, Basil, Rose Valley, I-Core, Alchemist and hundreds of others. Over Rs 30,000 crore of hard-earned money from common citizens were gobbled up by those associated with these chit fund companies. One of the former TMC MP’s has named Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as “one of the 12 people, who were behind the Sharadha Scams and its ‘biggest beneficiary’».
There was a time when West Bengal chief minister would paint regularly and “sell her paintings” for as much as Rs 1.8 crore. Ever since these chit-fund ghotalas have been exposed, she has stopped painting. That itself is telling of the complicity of TMC in these ghotalas. CBI has now found out that her painting was bought for Rs 1.8 crore by none other than chit fund king-pin Sudipta Sen, which they allege could be a part of the greater money laundering operation run by TMC.
While millions of families were destroyed across West Bengal because of these chit funds, it is on record that CM Mamata Banerjee met with Sharada’s Sudipto Sen, Rose Valley’s Gautham Kundu in Delo tourist lodge in Kalimpong, prior to the 2014 general elections, and was aiming to become the Prime Minister with the help of funds and clout generated from these Chit Funds.
The buck stops with Mamata
There is not a single sphere from which TMC has not collected cut money. Be it Sharada, Basil, SSC, CSC, Coal Scam, Mining Mafia, GTA Ghotala, Metro Dairy, HIMUL, Civic Police, MGNREGA, PMGSY, PMAY, PHE, PWD, Health Sector, or Education, TMC leaders have usurped public funds with impunity. So much so, that they even usurped emergency funds sent by the Central Government for relief from natural calamities like hurricanes Amphan and Aila.
It is highly improbable that all these numerous scams, violence and suppression of democracy would be happening in the state without the tactical approval and blessings from the Chief Minister’s Office.
There is every reason to believe that the rot in West Bengal starts right from the top, which is why, the only way to put an end to this steady downfall of a once great state, and the cancerous growth of extortion, political terrorism, arson, murder, rape cut-money, corruption, tolabazi, is to bring to justice everyone involved in these activities.
It is because of these reasons, I believe, it is time for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to resign, owing moral responsibility towards the sorry state of affairs prevalent in the state, and for her inability to provide a good, clean and honest government, which is what West Bengal desperately needs.
The author is a Member of Parliament from Darjeeling and the National Spokesperson for BJP. Views are personak.