Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, has made her the target of the Congress and CPM. Their spin — the Chief Minister is “going soft on him”. Ms Banerjee, an unrelenting critic of the Prime Minister, had surprised many by her comment yesterday that all but cleared him of any role in investigations that might be making businessmen flee India.
“BJP leaders (who) are conspiring” deserve the blame for that, she had said, pointing out that the CBI reports to the Union Home Ministry, controlled by Amit Shah, and not the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Congress, which had hit the streets against the misuse of Central agencies, was particularly harsh. The party’s leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury accused Ms Banerjee of being a “Trojan horse” in the opposition fold.
“Mamata is holding out an olive branch to PM out of desperation. The reason is obvious. When the ruling dispensation of West Bengal has been confronting the investigating agencies, who have been acting at the behest of the court, the TMC itself has been rattled,” said Mr Chowdhury, who shares a particularly bitter relationship with Ms Banerjee.
“The image of Mamata Banerjee as a politician, who holds the impression of integrity and honesty, has been shattered… Now Mamata Banerjee is shuddering with fear because she knows where the shoe pinches,” he added.
In the no-holds-barred attack, he also said that there is “nothing new” in Ms Banerjee’s “appreciation of BJP and the RSS (BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)”. Ms Banerjee was once a part of the NDA, “so the relationship is not new at all,” he said.
The CPM, whose 35-year rule was ended by Mamata Banerjee in 2011, went a step further. Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress were “born as an offshoot of RSS in 1998,” said party leader Sujan Chakraborty.
“People who do not know the internal events and chemistry of the Trinamool Congress or Mamata Banerjee with PM Modi or others, might be upset. But we, who have information… are not upset,” he added.
Clarifying Ms Banerjee’s comment, sources in the Trinamool Congress said there is no question of going soft on PM Modi. Ms Banerjee, they said, was only speaking from the point of view of industry, as she is trying to bring investment to Bengal.
The BJP has also taken the line that the Chief Minister’s statement was an attempt at appeasement. No one in the BJP, let alone the Prime Minister, needs any validation from Mamata Banerjee, the party said.