Sting: Mukul counters Mamata's Narada stand

Sting: Mukul counters Mamata's Narada stand

Sting: Mukul counters Mamata's Narada stand

 As Assembly elections in Bengal continue, the Trinamool Congress seems beleaguered and somewhat rudderless with its top leaders throwing contrary statements that could affect voters on the way to the polling booth.

If party chairperson Mamata Banerjee almost admitted to the involvement of party leaders in graft, senior leader Mukul Roy hinted that the money was taken on behalf of the party.

“The sting operation showed some people taking money and Mamata Banerjee talked about an internal probe. I want to point out that none of those you see in the video have taken money for personal gains,” Roy said during a public meeting at Burdwan on Tuesday.

“Let there be an investigation. It will be proven,” he added.
Roy was reacting to Mamata’s address during a campaign rally at North Kolkata on Sunday, where she said that if the footage surfaced before her candidates’ list was released, she would have had the option to drop those named in the footage. Both leaders were referring to a controversial footage showing top Trinamool leaders receiving illegal cash payments.

When the footage surfaced, after being released by the state BJP leadership in early March, Roy and others called the footage “doctored” and found a “political conspiracy” behind it “to malign the Trinamool”. In a statement on Wednesday, Roy said, “We still don’t know if the video is doctored or manufactured. I know my colleagues for a long time and they are not the kind to take money for personal gains.” The footage claimed to have paid 13 top Trinamool leaders, including state ministers, MLAs and MPs.

Roy, reinstated as party vice-president in January after a long hiatus, seems to have thrown a challenge at Mamata. Insiders said that many of the leaders named in the footage are unhappy with Mamata’s public statement.

They feel it would affect their chances in the polls and from her it would seem like a confession. Incidentally, the ruling party has already sent defamation notices to several media houses for covering the video’s contents “without verifying authenticity”.

Earlier, when the party was contesting three public interest litigations at the Calcutta High Court, which demanded the footage’s authenticity be verified, Trinamool MP and legal counsel Kalyan Banerjee, representing the affected leaders, argued that the payments being considered bribes could also be donations to the party. BJP National General Secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said, “The Trinamool has changed its stance from the tape being doctored to accepting it. They were openly taking bribes for favours..”

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