Mamata's flip-flop reddens party's face

PTI3_11_2016_000209A (File) Mamata campaigned for five out of the 14 leaders who were involved in the Narada scam

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's move to take on Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi over the latter's alleged involvement in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal seems to have attracted trouble for the TMC chief.

“If you take money it’s not crime, if I take it’s a crime,” the West Bengal CM had said while addressing an election campaign rally in South 24 Parganas district. However, the opponents took it as an admission on the part of Bengal chief minister whose party leaders have been accused of taking bribe in Narada scam and Saradha chit fund scam.

Mamata Banerjee has been doing a flip-flop for the last one month over the involvement of 14 of her partymen in the Narada scam. Sometimes she had denied it, but there was also times when she said if the issue was brought up to her earlier, she would have thought twice before giving them party tickets. She, however, could not maintain a single opinion throughout.

The party supremo's failure to take a stand didn't go down well with the accused party leaders, forcing the Mamata to backtrack. However, this decision has alienated a few honest leaders in the party who were left embarrassed by the party chief's move.

Mamata campaigned for five out of the 14 leaders who were involved in the Narada scam. Ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee and Kolkata Mayor Sovon Chatterjee were seen accompanying the chief minister in the road shows.

One of the leaders, who did not approve of the TMC chief's flip-flopping ways, said, “Didi could have resisted herself from making such statement. By admitting that, she lost a weapon against Sonia Gandhi.”

The AgustaWestland chopper scam could become an issue in last two phases in West Bengal—on April 30 and May 5. But Mamata’s admission has ruined the game plan of the Trinamool Congress.

A section of Trinamool Congress leaders, however, admitted that it’s too late for Trinamool to raise the issue on the ground.

“She had to admit the fact that her leaders are corrupt. In fact it is the most corrupted party in India,” said Congress leader and MP Pradip Bhattacharya.

Sources said Sonia Gandhi is likely to come for campaign in east Midnapore next week.

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