Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar on Tuesday alleged that his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee dragged his name into corruption issues “just to save her skin” from Saradha, Narada and Rose Valley graft cases and dismissed it as political “narrowness”.
West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had alleged that Sarkar and Tripura social welfare minister Bijita Nath were involved with some chit fund groups, but the investigating agency did not initiate any action against them.
“Just to save her skin from Saradha, Narada and Rose Valley cases, she (Banerjee) is saying all these things. I am an open book and a slate. This is political... what should I say narrowness. Please don’t try to equate me with Mamata, I am sorry,” he said.
The Trinamool Congress on January 12 had wondered why the CBI was only targeting its leaders while leaving out other opposition leaders involved with some chit fund groups.
On national politics, the Tripura chief minister claimed federalism has weakened in the nearly three years of Narendra Modi government at the Centre, especially after the Planning Commission was done away with.
“Weakening of federalism is going to take place gradually. That is a very bad thing. One party show. This is an authoritarian trend. Look at how federalism is being weakened. One such example is disbanding of the Planning Commission,” he said at a meet-the-press programme here.
Sarkar said the only alternative to BJP is the third front where the Left and all democratic forces join hands, but the opportune time has not arrived yet.
“What is the alternative to BJP? It is the Left and the democratic forces. It will not come out of the blue. It shall have to be developed. For now, it is weak. It takes time to be a force to reckon with,” he said.
Asked whether a third front is possible to take on BJP in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh election, Sarkar said some sort of adjustment may take place between parties.
On the alleged scam in teachers’ recruitment, Sarkar said that only because the Tripura High Court has questioned the method of recruitment, it is wrong to say his government has indulged in nepotism and corruption.
“The High Court has not mentioned words such as nepotism and corruption, but it only questioned the method of employment. Now, the matter is in the Supreme Court, and hence nothing is final yet. So, I would only say don’t be misguided by wrong and false campaign,” he said.
“Nepotism in Tripura, that is false. It is a very transparent and very clean government,” Sarkar claimed.
Asked about the possibility of BJP winning the elections in Tripura in 2018, especially after forming a government in Arunachal Pradesh, he said, “We have to wait and see the outcome of the next election.”
However, BJP should have waited for the next election instead of capturing Arunachal Pradesh in an “unconstitutional way”, Sarkar said.
“The way Arunachal was captured, do you support it? This is a very wrong method. Why they should not wait for the next election? Money power, media and muscle power - it is a very bad thing,” he said.