The Congress Tuesday accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of playing “hide-and-seek”, after the TMC chief said she did not believe Prime Minister Narendra Modi was behind the alleged misuse of central agencies in the state. Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate asked if Banerjee was giving a clean chit to the prime minister at a time when the entire country was raising questions on the issue of misuse of agencies as that would give rise to doubts on her intentions too.
The opposition cannot play “hide-and-seek” in politics as it has to seek accountability from the prime minister on issues of public importance, Shrinate said. The remarks came a day after Banerjee sought to insulate Prime Minister Modi from allegations of misuse of central agencies by the BJP-led Centre against political rivals by saying she did not believe that the PM was behind the alleged excesses of the CBI and the ED. She went on to blame a section of BJP leaders for misusing the central agencies to serve their interests.
Shrinate said, “I do not know that she is trying to corner Amit Shah-ji while leaving out Modi-ji. I don’t know whether she has decided that Modi-ji is good, I will not comment on her point, but yes, I will definitely say two things.” “In this government of rulers sitting in Delhi, nothing moves without the approval of Prime Minister Modi. When you give a clean chit to the prime minister, somewhere you are acquitting him of the charges on which the country is asking questions today,” she added. Shrinate asserted that her party and her leader Rahul Gandhi would continue to corner the government on issues of national importance and would not be cowed down by any kind of intimidation by the Enforcement Directorate or the CBI.
“We will corner the government on every issue that concerns the public. We don’t care if you send the ED or the CBI against us, spread false propaganda or send your troll army, you will be asked questions on issues. “If Narendra Modi is the prime minister, then it is our job to seek accountability. I think this is our job, our duty and our religion,” she said, adding that the Congress and Rahul Gandhi does this work by being “fearless and steadfast”. “Like the rest of the opposition, we cannot play hide-and-seek by saying a bit now, then going back and get votes in their favour and then go back,” the Congress leader said.
The BJP too took a dig at Banerjee, saying no one in the party needed validation from her. “No one in the BJP, and most certainly the PM, needs any validation from Mamata Banerjee. Her entire Government, top ministers, party office bearers and immediate family is under the radar of central agencies, because the Courts ordered investigation. She must account for the loot,” BJP IT department head Amit Malviya tweeted.
Banerjee has been a voracious critic of the Narendra Modi government since 2014. While speaking on a resolution in the West Bengal Assembly on Monday against the “excesses” of the central probe agencies, Banerjee urged the prime minister to ensure that the functioning of the Union government and the interests of his party do not get mixed up.
“Every day, leaders of opposition parties are being threatened by the BJP leaders with arrest by CBI and ED. Should central agencies function this way in the country? I don’t believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is behind this, but some BJP leaders are misusing the CBI and ED for their interests,” she said. The CBI, which used “to report to the Prime Minister’s Office is now under the jurisdiction of the Union Home Ministry”, claimed the feisty TMC boss, who had earlier blamed Modi for unleashing the CBI and the ED against political opponents.