Senior Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee on Saturday slammed Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti for allegedly spreading falsehood about a meeting with the party’s delegation in New Delhi and stated that the TMC is prepared to meet her at Raj Bhavan to discuss the MGNREGA issue.
Mr Banerjee, the TMC national general secretary, also condemned the union minister of state for rural development for allegedly asking the TMC delegation to come to the state BJP office for a discussion on the state’s MGNREGA “dues”, labelling it as a manifestation of a “Zamindari” culture mindset.
“When we went to meet her in New Delhi, she not only refused to meet us after making us wait for a long time, but also instructed the police to remove us from Krishi Bhawan. Just yesterday, I had mentioned that senior BJP leaders, including Giriraj Singh and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, would come to Kolkata to meet us sensing the people’s anger,” Mr Banerjee said during the sit-in near the Raj Bhavan which entered its third day on Saturday.
Mr Banerjee, who along with other TMC leaders, is holding an indefinite sit-in outside Raj Bhavan in Kolkata since Thursday, has said they will continue the demonstration till Governor CV Ananda Bose meets the protesters.
Earlier in the day, the minister denied allegations that she declined to meet the TMC delegation in New Delhi, emphasising her willingness to deliberate on the issue, while accusing West Bengal’s ruling party of engaging in political theatrics.
During a press conference, she stated that the BJP-led central government had never intended to withhold MGNREGA funds from West Bengal but pointed out discrepancies in fund utilisation in the state. Jyoti expressed her readiness to hold talks with the TMC delegation at any time but questioned their sincerity.
“Today, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti came to Kolkata to address a press conference, and as expected, she spread falsehoods about the meeting. But I was surprised by her audacity in asking us to come to the state BJP office to meet her. Why would we go to the BJP office to meet her? If she is genuinely interested in meeting us, she can come to Raj Bhavan, and we will meet her there,” Mr Banerjee said.
The Diamond Harbour MP, considered number 2 in the party, also played an audio clip in which BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar can be heard purportedly saying that just one phone call could secure the release of MGNREGA funds from the state.
“In this audio clip, Sukanta Majumdar is heard saying that only one phone call would ensure the release of MGNREGA funds from the state. I would urge all of you to call him and ask him to make that call to get the funds withheld by the Centre released,” he said, as he made public the mobile numbers of the BJP leader.
PTI, however, could not independently verify the authenticity of the audio clip.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)