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TMC Claims Sandeshkhali was a “BJP Conspiracy”

TMC Claims Sandeshkhali was a “BJP Conspiracy”

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 4: Even as the Kolkata Police constituted an inquiry team to investigate the sexual harassment complaint against the West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose levelled by a lady contractual employee of the Raj-Bhavan, the Trinamool Congress on Saturday released a video on the social media claiming that the infamous sexual exploitation of women in Sandeshkhali was a “BJP conspiracy” to defame the state ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

In the purported video, a man, who claimed to be a BJP mandal president in Sandeshkhali, was heard saying that the leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari “is behind the whole conspiracy.”

The man alleged in the video that Mr Adhikari had asked him and other BJP leaders of the area to “instigate three-four local women to level allegations of rape against three TMC leaders, including Shahjahan Sheikh. The man was also heard saying that Nandigram MLA “Adhikari himself had planted guns at a house in Sandeshkhali, which was later shown as the seizure by central agencies.”

The BJP, however, refuted the claims and said the video was a doctored one. The BJP leader and party spokesman Shankudeb Panda said the TMC was unable to combat the swelling public anger on the Sandeshkhali incident. “The TMC is insulting women in Sandeshkhali and Bengal. Its leaders are uploading such a doctored video as it found no other way to combat the charges,” he said.

The TMC in a post titled ‘Big expose on Sandeshkhali’ on X, said Mr Adhikari created a “false narrative of mass rapes by paying money to local people to defame Bengal and Sandeshkhali.” The party also alleged that the “viral video exposed how the BJP left no stone unturned to malign Bengal. From ‘mass rape’ to ‘arms seizure’, every claim was bought and staged by none other than @SuvenduWB.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the “shocking Sandeshkhali sting shows how deep the rot is within the BJP.” “In their hatred for Bengal’s progressive thought and culture, the ‘Bangla-Birodhis’ orchestrated a conspiracy to defame our State on every possible level,” she said.

Ms Banerjee also said, “Never before in the history of India has a ruling party in Delhi tried to malign an entire State and its people. History will witness how Bengal will rise in rage against Delhi’s conspiratorial regime and ensure their Bishorjon.”

“The cat is out of the bag. The sinister plot of Modi-Shah, central agencies and their allies stand exposed,” the TMC said apparently referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Addressing election rallies at Bardhaman-Durgapur and Krishnanagar, Mr Modi on Friday had criticised the Trinamool Congress for its “apathy” towards the victims in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas, where allegations of sexual abuse against leaders of the ruling party have surfaced.

Senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee said, “I am shocked beyond words to see the Sandeshkhali sting video. Every citizen must witness the Bangla birodhi @BJP4India’s attempt to defame and malign WB for their petty political ends…….This abhorrent act epitomises the grossest abuse of power in history,” he said. He described the alleged move by the BJP as a matter of “shame.”

In the episode concerning the governor, the Kolkata police team said the police would speak to the witnesses over the next few days. The investigators, she said have already requested the Raj Bhavan to share the CCTV footage.

“We have formed an inquiry team which will be speaking to some probable witnesses over the next few days in this matter. We have also requested the Raj Bhavan to share the CCTV footage, in case they are available,” the officer said.

A contractual woman employee of the Raj Bhavan had lodged a written complaint with the Kolkata Police on Friday alleging sexual molestation by the Bengal Governor in the Raj Bhavan. Under Article 361 of the Constitution, no criminal proceedings can be instituted against a Governor during his term in office.

The Raj-Bhavan had issued a statement on Friday that the governor had banned the entry of police in the Raj-Bhavan premises “in the guise of conducting unauthorised, illegitimate, sham and motivated investigations to placate political bosses during the election.” The governor had left for his home state Kerala.

Meanwhile, a senior TMC leader and a former journalist Kunal Ghosh has fallen out of the party in the middle of the closely-fought elections during which he has been removed from his party post and the TMC’s list of star campaigners for targeting the party’s leadership.

Ghosh, among the most well-known of the TMC’s spokespersons, first ruffled the party leadership’s feathers for repeatedly targeting its Kolkata North MP and veteran leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay. The breaking point came when on May 1 he attended a blood donation camp in Kolkata North in the company of the BJP candidate Tapash Roy and praised him for being the “most competent candidate” in the fray.

Hours later, in a TV interview; he levelled allegations against the TMC’s rank and file. “Even before the 2021 Assembly polls, the party was well aware that large-scale corruption and extortion in lieu of jobs was taking place in the school education department … It was due to the corruption in the education department that Partha Chatterjee was shifted from the Education Ministry to the Industry Department after the party returned to power in 2021.”




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