Mamata cries political vendetta after TMC MP’s arrest, mob targets BJP office
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday dubbed the arrest of Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay as “vendetta politics” by the Centre and announced nationwide protests against the Narendra Modi government’s “vindictive attitude”.india Updated: Jan 03, 2017 19:26 IST
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday dubbed the arrest of Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay as “vendetta politics” by the Centre and announced nationwide protests against the Narendra Modi government’s “vindictive attitude”.
Bandyopadhyay was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with the Rose Valley Chit Fund scam. The development came close on the heels of the arrest of another Trinamool Congress MP, Tapas Pal, on Friday. Paul, an actor-turned politician, is now in the CBI custody in Bhubaneshwar.
Taking on the Centre and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Banerjee demanded the arrest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
“We strongly condemn the politically vindictive attitude of Modi and Amit Shah. They have arrested our Parliamentary Party leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay. He is a veteran politician and senior leader of our party.
“It is all because of our fight against NoteBandi (note ban). We are and will be with the people. Nothing can stop us from being with the people and we will continue with our protest against NoteBandi,” Banerjee, who has been a fierce opponent of the government’s demonetisation exercise, added.
“We condemn, condemn and condemn this,” she said in a Facebook post.
As news of the MP’s arrest spread, hundreds of Trinamool activists took to the streets. A mob attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party office in Kolkata with stones and vandalised cars parked outside. The BJP said 15 of its activists were injured. A few bled from the head as they spoke to the media.
Soon after, several Trinamool Congress MPs and MLAs reached the CBI office in Kolkata. However, only the MPs were allowed to go upstairs where the accused was kept after his arrest, TMC sources said.
Turning the heat on the Centre, Banerjee said her party will launch pan-India protests.
“We will hold a demonstration in front of Kolkata RBI on January 9 and there will be dharnas in 10 different states including Delhi, Assam, Odisha and Tripura on January 10 and 11,” she said.
“I also run a government and I also have the power to arrest certain people who are thieves, hooligans and extortionists. This arrest has been made under pressure from the PMO.”
Congress pitches in
The Congress party, for its part, termed the arrest of Bandopadhyay as a political vendetta launched by the government against opponents.
“From the day Mamata Banerjee held a joint press conference with Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders, a new wave of vendetta has been unleashed by Modiji,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told ANI, referring to the meeting of eight opposition parties in New Delhi to protest the Centre’s decision of recalling high-value banknotes.
Refuting allegations of “vendetta politics”, BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh questioned why only TMC leaders were being found to be involved in “all the chit fund scams”.
“She should stop making these baseless allegations. The rule of law is the same for everybody. My question is why only TMC leaders are being found to be involved in all the chit fund scams across the state,” he told PTI.