As the spectre of arrest of top- level leaders haunts Trinamool Congress on the last day of 2014 the Opposition is looking forward towards a possible split in Bengal’s ruling party. BJP leaders, already planning ‘mission 2016’, told HT they expect leaders to break away from Trinamool Congress in 2015 and join them.
A section of leaders in the ruling party believes that former railway minister and party general secretary, Mukul Roy, and chief minister Mamata Banerjee, would be summoned by the CBI in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam.
This speculation has shaken the party from within, so much so that party chief Mamata Banerjee reacted on the issue recently.
Significantly, Mamata’s remarks have increased the panic among the party rank and file. On Tuesday, Mamata said at Kharagpur: “If anyone thinks that they will join some other party. The door is open. Please go.”
“Many Trinamool leaders, including MPs and MLAs are in constant touch with us. This is not the right time to disclose the names. They are waiting for the right time and we are waiting for the group to build up,” BJP state president Rahul Sinha said on Wednesday.
A section of Trinamool leaders and workers anticipate the CBI could well question Mamata Banerjee regarding the sale of her paintings, which, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier alleged, sold at a whopping Rs. 1.86 crore.
There are strong rumours in Trinamool Congress ranks that the father-son duo of Sishir and Suvendu Adhikary, both Lok Sabha MPs, are in touch with BJP. Some suspect panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee may have contacts with the BJP as well. BJP leaders don’t restrict themselves to these three names, and claim a far larger number of MPs, MLAs and local leaders are keen on leaving Trinamool Congress.
Significantly, the Trinamool chief has named Suvendu herself. “They (read, the centre) are telling Suvendu that either join us or go to jail ( in the Saradha scam). What is this?” she remarked at the Kharagpur party workers meeting on December 30.
“Mamata’s i ma g e was Trinamool’s one and only wealth. The party has no prospect without that image,” a Trinamool leader said on condition of anonymity.
Curiously, on December 30 when Mamata revealed her fears, speaking from a different corner of the state (North 24-Parganas district) Trinamool MP Idris Ali said that the Centre was plotting to arrest Mamata Banerjee. “I want to make it clear for them, Bengal would go up in flames if you dare arrest Mamata Banerjee,” he said.
As Ali’s remarks were trending in Twitter since early morning on the last day of the year, Trinamool spokesperson Derek O’Brien came to his rescue.
“Paid trolls working overtime on the last day of 2014. Trending my colleague Idris Ali. My colleague stated the political reality... I see nothing wrong in stating the political reality. Reality is BJP openly using CBI for political vendetta. We are a political party, not an NGO. Will fight them politically,” O’Brien twitted.