Mamata Banerjee warns TMC against corruption in relief work

Mamata Banerjee warns TMC against corruption in relief work

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday warned her party against “politicising relief work” for the coronavirus pandemic and Cyclone Amphan and corruption in the public distribution system.

Mamata Banerjee also instructed TMC leaders to intensify political campaign on social media highlighting her government’s successes in the past nine years.

She gave those instructions during an internal meeting of the party, held over videoconferencing, on Friday evening.

The meeting went on for nearly three hours as state and district-level leaders, including district-unit presidents and select members of the state assembly and Parliament, attended it.

Mamata Banerjee inquired from the leaders about the situation on the ground and made some organisational changes at the district-level. She stressed on the need to reach every door with the government’s success stories and avoid doing anything that could earn the party a bad name.

“She said that the party must not get involved in the relief work—leaving it to the administration—and that the relief for Covid-19 lockdown and Cyclone Amphan must reach all victims, supporters of all parties,” a Lok Sabha member of the TMC, who did not want to be named, said.

“She also said that the government will take strong action against people corrupting the ration distribution system and the party would not stand by anyone found involved,” the lawmaker cited above added.

Her meeting came in the wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launching its 2021 electoral campaign, branded as ‘Aar Noi Mamata’ literally meaning no more Mamata, and calling for the toppling of the TMC regime next year.

Union home minister Amit Shah is scheduled to address a virtual rally of the state unit of the BJP on June 9.

Incidentally, all of the TMC’s opponents in Bengal – the BJP, the Left and the Congress – have targeted the Mamata Banerjee government and her party for corruption in providing government relief due to Covid-19 and Cyclone Amphan.

Referring to the BJP’s increased political activities, Banerjee told her party that they too must start the campaign and revive public relations – through social media and at their localities – and activate the booth-level units for this purpose.

“She said we needed to stand by the people on the ground and take our success stories to every door. She gave special thrust on countering BJP’s propaganda on social media,” said a district unit president of TMC.

No TMC leaders spoke on record because it was an internal meeting.

The TMC chief also warned the party against infighting.

“Don’t comment against the party staying in it. I am telling this particularly to leaders in Kolkata. If you want to go, the door is open,” Banerjee reportedly said during the videoconference on Friday.

Her warning came in the wake of a series of incidents where senior party leaders, including ministers, were found criticising their colleagues.

Reacting to the news of CM Banerjee’s warning to her party against corruption, Left and BJP leaders said it was nothing more than a mockery of the reality.

“TMC is corrupt, top to bottom. Who listens to such things?” Sujan Chakraborty, the leader of the Left parties in the assembly, asked.

“If she was concerned about corruption, she should have long ago acted against the corrupt filling up ranks in her party,” the BJP’s national secretary Rahul Sinha said.

The TMC won 211 of the state’s 294 assembly seats, while BJP won only three in 2016 elections. However, the BJP emerged as the state’s principal opposition party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, winning 18 of the 42 seats, while the TMC won 22.