Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA Udayan Guha triggered a controversy on Friday while addressing party workers during a meeting in Nigamnagar area in Dinhata. Guha, who was was elected in 2016 to the State Assembly from Dinhata constituency in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal, urged party workers to stop soliciting ‘cut money’ from people if they wanted to ensure the party’s return to power and future access to the profits.
In this context, the cut money refers to the bribe that local Trinamool leaders take from people in lieu of implementing government welfare schemes. His comments come at the backdrop of West Bengal Assembly elections, which are scheduled to take place next year.
In a video that has now gone viral on social media, Guha emphasised, “We have lost the Lok Sabha elections. I and my party members are responsible for this. I will say this here- You have eaten (solicited cut money from people) in the past and will get opportunities to do so in future as well. Now, (for a change) let people eat (have their full share). If you try to eat now, then, then people will not give you the opportunity in future. “
BJP, slams Trinamool Congress over ‘cut money’
The BJP was quick to slam the Trinamool Congress party over its admission of profiting illegally from government schemes via cut money. BJP State Chief Dilip Ghosh said, “Mamata Banerjee had said that we cannot eat alone but need to share (the cut money). The party had said give 75% to people, eat only 25%. Udayan Guha is now telling (party workers) to eat less. There is so much competition within the party (to solicit cut money) that the public isn’t getting anything.”
TMC cries foul, claims nobody takes cut money
TMC leader and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim said, “No worker of Trinamool Congress takes cut money. This is political propaganda (to tarnish our image) and it is meant to influence people into believing such a thing. TMC is a big family. If someone does something like this, action will be taken against him. Mamata Banerjee has removed several such people from the party.”
Mamata Banerjee admits to ‘cut money’ scam
Earlier, Mamata Banerjee had remarked that ‘cut money’ taken by members of her own party, for implementing the welfare schemes of the government, ought to be returned to the public. “I do not want to keep thieves in my party. If I take action they will join some other party. Some leaders are claiming 25 per cent commission for providing housing grants to the poor. This should stop immediately. Return the money if any of you have taken it,” Banerjee had said.
As a consequence of her remarks, people across the state are up in arms against the elected Trinamool representatives and leaders in the area, demanding the return of the money they had paid as bribes.