Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi Tuesday lambasted Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee for staging a dharna to protest the CBI's attempts to question the Kolkata Police commissioner in a chit fund case and wondered whether the IPS officer was privy to any "secret" of the West Bengal chief minister. Demanding that Centre suspend the commissioner of police (CP) for being present in Banerjee's dharna, Modi accused her of helping "revival" of the CPI(M)-led Left Front, with a view to dividing anti-BJP votes in the Lok Sabha polls.
The senior BJP leader also claimed that the party's popularity was growing in the neighbouring state, even as the ruling TMC was losing its support base. That was the reason the TMC government tried to thwart the rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Modi told reporters here.
When CBI had earlier questioned TMC ministers and MPs, Banerjee did not have problems, but she threw a fit when the agency attempted to grill Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, he said. "This makes me wonder whether she is scared that he may divulge some of her unsavory secrets," Modi said.
Banerjee is on a sit-in against the CBI's attempt to question the Kolkata Police chief in connection with chit fund scams. Her protest entered the third day on Tuesday. The Supreme Court Tuesday directed Kumar to make himself available before the CBI and "faithfully" cooperate with the agency in investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam probe. However, the judges ruled that he could not be arrested.
On Banerjee's claim that the Supreme Court's ruling that Kumar be questioned without being arrested was tantamount to her moral victory, Modi said if she sees a victory in what is a smack in her face, then none can anything. "She should explain why did her police prevent CBI sleuths from meeting Kumar on Sunday. They after all wanted only to question him and not arrest him," he said.
Modi said, "In reality, Banerjee is scared of the growing unpopularity of her own party and the corresponding rise in the BJP's appeal. She has, therefore, embarked on a covert attempt to revive her arch rivals - the Left Front - so that anti-BJP votes get divided in the Lok Sabha polls." He said, "The Centre should also immediately place Rajeev Kumar under suspension for joining the chief minister in the dharna. A serving officer is not supposed to indulge in such acts." Kumar, West Bengal Director General of Police Virendra and State Security Advisor Surajit Kar Purkayastha, were with Banerjee at the dharna site for sometime on Sunday night. The Bihar Deputy CM also took a swipe at his predecessor Tejashwi Yadav saying his father Lalu Prasad had similarly tried to thwart his own arrest in the fodder scam decades ago but he has been convicted and now in jail.
"His younger son, who owns properties worth crores at a tender age of 29, seems to be worried about his own prospects which explains his sudden dash to Kolkata to express solidarity to Banerjee," Modi said. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav came to Kolkata and met Banerjee at the dharna site Tuesday.
Interestingly, RJD's ally Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) disapproved of Banerjee's dharna over the CBI episode. "She might have a legitimate grouse against the CBI.
But she should have gone to the court instead of staging a demonstration which was so unbecoming of a chief minister," HAM founder and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) took a swipe at the opposition Grand Alliance in the state, the constituents of which have taken divergent stands on Banerjee's dharna.
"This is the Mahagathbandhan. Tejashwi Yadav does not visit a Patna hospital to meet an injured RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha but rushes to another state to take part in Mamata Banerjee's dharna. On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi stays away from her dharna," JD(U) MLC and spokesman Neeraj Kumar tweeted..
(With inputs from agencies.)