The chief whip of Trinamool Congress in Lok Sabha, Kalyan Banerjee, added a fresh twist to the ongoing tussle between BJP and Trinamool Congress on Tuesday by alleging that the Prime Minister sent an emissary to Sudip Bandyopadhyay, the leader of Trinamool’s parliamentary party, with the proposal to meet him during the opposition storm in Parliament on demonetisation, an offer that Bandyopadhyay flatly refused.
Banerjee also alleged that Bandyopadhyay’s refusal to heed the message led to his arrest on January 3.
“PM Modi sent an emissary from the PMO -- a short gentleman -- to Bandyopadhyay, requesting him to meet the Prime Minister. But Bandyopadhyay flatly refused the offer. The episode happened in front of me and at a time when the Parliament was agog with united protests from the opposition parties, in which our party took a leading role,” Banerjee told HT over phone.
Banerjee, a practising lawyer, is now in the national capital to participate in the agitation programme of Trinamool Congress to protest against Bandyopadhyay’s arrest.
“He (Kalyan Banerjee) is not speaking the truth. Was Tapas Paul, too, contacted by the Prime Minister?” BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha remarked sarcastically.
Since Bandyopadhyay was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley scam, Trinamool Congress launched a nation-wide protest against ‘politics of vendetta by the Centre’.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee ordered and monitored the agitation programme. In a number of public meetings she alleged that the arrests of the two MPs were a direct fallout of her party’s stiff and high-pitched opposition to the demonetisation decision.
“The CBI has been turned into the Conspiracy Bureau of India. They are targeting our leaders because we took the lead in protesting demonetisation,” she remarked at a public meeting on Tuesday in Birbhum district.
Since the fateful announcement of the Prime Minister at 8 PM on November 8, Mamata Banerjee emerged as the most visible face among the opposition leaders to hit the streets against the decision. She toured many north Indian states trying to rally support in her favour and to oppose Modi.
Incidentally, Kalyan Banerjee’s allegations came at a time when CBI is intensely grilling Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul in Bhubaneswar. There are indications that they may also try to find their links with Saradha scam as well, which will only complicate matters for the Trinamool leaders.
On Tuesday, the Bengal chief minister also twitted a list of more than 120 persons who, she said, have died due to demonetisation.
It is learnt CBI is preparing to question a few more prominent faces from the Bengali film industry their connection with the Rs 17,000-crore Rose Valley scam. They are also seen at ruling party functions.