TMC show-causes minister for terming party legislators from film industry looters


West Bengal minister Srikanta Mahata has courted controversy by claiming that several Trinamool Congress MLAs and MPs from the showbiz industry have become looters while honest workers are being ignored by the party top brass.

In a video that went viral, the MLA of Salboni in Paschim Medinipur district was heard telling his supporters at a meeting that the partys top leaders are labelling bad elements as good ones.

The TMCs Paschim Medinipur co-ordinator Ajit Maity on Sunday said Mahata was show-caused for his statement which harmed the image of the party.

In his reply to the show-cause notice, Mahata regretted making that statement and said it was an emotional outburst, according to Maity.

We have tried to reason with all the top leaders but they did not listen. They are labelling bad elements as good ones while overlooking the loyalists who are honest. However, I will work for giving livelihood rights to people of Paschimanchal (western districts) in whatever way possible, Mahata said at the meeting on Saturday.

Describing certain newly elected MLAs and MPs from the film industry as looters, Mahata said that if they turn out to be the assets of the TMC, how long can we be with this party?” “If there are instances of loot of money, it is advisable for a minister to go to jail. Otherwise, people will point fingers at ministers and label all of us as thieves. Arent all of us facing similar taunts?” the minister said.

He was apparently referring to the arrests of senior leaders Partha Chatterjee and Anubrata Mondal by central agencies in connection with school jobs scam and alleged cattle smuggling respectively. Mahata said, “If the party only listens to thieves, if people in metros like Kolkata are involved in rampant loot, should we keep silent?… We have to choose our path. Either we have to go to an ashram shunning everything or participate in social movements.” TMC state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said the party does not approve of his views.

“If Srikanta had anything to say, he would have to follow the party discipline and decorum. He cannot go against any decision taken by the party,” Ghosh said.

Mahata named, among others, actors June Maliah and Sayantika Banerjee.

MLA June Maliah said she is happy that the partys disciplinary committee has promptly taken up the issue and Mahata was show-caused.

Sayantika Banerjee, a state secretary of the party, said, “I have heard about the issue but dont want to comment in public.

BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said Mahata has spoken the truth that the TMC is a party of looters.

“Srikanta should explain what he meant by saying that these MLAs and MPs from the showbiz industry are on a looting spree. What exactly are they looting? He owes an explanation to the people of Bengal,” Majumdar added.

Mahata could not be reached for comments.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)