Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya Tuesday alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had put democracy in peril in West Bengal and sought to know if Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar was an office bearer of her party TMC.
Maurya's remarks came in the backdrop of Banerjee staging a "Save India" dharna (sit-in) in Kolkata since Sunday night insisting that the CBI's attempt to question the Kolkata Police chief in connection with chit fund scams was tantamount to stifling the spirit of "Constitution and federalism" in the country. "I feel that in West Bengal democracy is in peril. Someone occupying a constitutional post is violating the federal structure of the country. This certainly does not augur well for the democracy of the country," Maurya told PTI here in an interview.
Banerjee owes an answer to the nation on "whether Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar is a TMC MP, MLA or an office bearer of her party", he said. Seeking an answer from the West Bengal chief minister, Maurya said, "What is the reason that when the CBI is questioning an officer on the directives of the Supreme Court, that its (CBI) officers were detained, and then a drama of dharna was staged (by Banerjee) despite being in power."
On Sunday, in an unprecedented development, a number of CBI officers, who had gone to question Kumar in connection with chit fund scam cases, were bundled into police jeeps, whisked to a police station and briefly detained. Maurya said the public meetings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in West Bengal, has frightened her. "She has misused her sarkaari tantra (government machinery) and apraadhi tantra (crime machinery) only to gather people for the mahagathbandhan.
"But, more than those number of people, more are actually turning up to listen to the prime minister at his rallies. Other political leaders who are standing with the TMC chief have also stains of corruption on them," the deputy chief minister said. This is a sign of nervousness on part of Banerjee. Today, the country is facing a situation, where there is a battle between democracy and corruption, Maurya said.
In a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Maurya said, "Earlier, the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi had criticised the TMC on the chit fund scam, and today he is extending support to Mamata Banerjee. And to me, it makes me believe that chor-chor mausere bhaai (birds of a feather flock together)." The denial of permission to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's chopper to land in the West Bengal, drops ample hints that she does not believe in democracy, he alleged.
The tussle between the TMC and the BJP got uglier on Sunday, with the West Bengal government denying permission to Adityanath's chopper to land in the state to let him address two scheduled rallies. Adityanath addressed the rallies there telephonically and lashed out at the "anti-people" TMC government in West Bengal, saying the days of Chief Minister Banerjee's rule are "numbered".
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister and the West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh were scheduled to address "Ganatantra Bacaho" rallies at Balurghat in South Dinajpur district and Raiganj in North Dinajpur district. Though the BJP was allowed to organise the rallies, the district administration denied permission for Adityanath's chopper to land at both the places, party leaders said. Following denial of permission to land his chopper, Adityanath decided not to attend either of the rallies and instead addressed them telephonically.
(With inputs from agencies.)