In West Bengal, political equations over investigations in various cases by the central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have a slightly different dimension.
The ruling Trinamool Congress is fighting a lonely political battle against these central agencies' probes under which the roles of several TMC leaders including the party’s national general secretary and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, Abhishek Banerjee have come under the scanner.
While the BJP is going hammer and tongs highlighting the central probe agencies against the Trinamool Congress, the other anti- BJP opposition parties in the state like the Congress and the Left Front too are welcoming the CBI and ED probes in a big way.
However, the same Congress and Left Front are quite vocal when these central agencies probe regional leaders in other states be it Sanjay Raut or Sharad Pawar in Maharashtra or Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s brother.
While the Left Front leaders especially those from the CPI(M) have been quite vocal when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was grilled for hours in the ED office in the National Herald case, the same Left leaders keep mum when Abhishek Banerjee or his wife Rujira Narula Banerjee are grilled for hours by the same agency in the coal smuggling case.
IANS tried to ascertain why the ruling Trinamool Congress is so isolated in this political battle based on reactions from political leaders and analysts. What evolved was that the cases which the central agencies are probing are so sensitive, that even the hardcore anti-BJP political forces, except the Trinamool Congress, have no other option but to welcome them.
Second, since both the Congress and the Left Front in West Bengal are the worst sufferers from the Trinamool Congress expansion strategy of turncoat politics, both these anti-BJP and anti-Trinamool forces are silently enjoying the difficult situation the Trinamool Congress finds itself in because of these probes.For the BJP, the logic is simple.
According to the state party spokesman, Shamik Bhattacharya, how can the Trinamool Congress leadership blame the BJP for these central agency enquiries when all these probes are being conducted following orders of the Calcutta High Court.
“Actually, by blaming the BJP, the Trinamool Congress leadership is trying to divert attention from the crimes committed by their leaders. But they cannot fool everyone for long,” he said.
According to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) member from West Bengal, Suvankar Sarkar there is no room to oppose or even criticize the ongoing central agency probes in West Bengal.
“The Bogtui case of mass carnage is because of infighting in the Trinamool. The Hanskhali case is that of the rape and murder of a minor girl allegedly by the son of a local influential leader of the Trinamool Congress.
And in the case of the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment scam thousands of eligible candidates have been deprived to make room for relatives, friends and confidants of Trinamool Congress leaders and even ministers.
"So how can we expect the state police to conduct a fair probe in all such cases. So, we have to depend on probes by central agencies, though there are doubts on the success rate of central agency investigations.
Such cases can never be compared with the National Herald case,” Sarkar said.The opinion of CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty is no different from that of Sarkar.
According to him, the Calcutta High Court ordered a CBI probe into all the recent cases based on the petitions filed either by the victims as happened in the case of the WBSSC recruitment scam or by the family members of the victims like the Bogtui carnage or the Hanskhali minor girl rape and murder.
“It is a different question whether the central agency will be able to ultimately mete out justice in these cases or not considering its past record. But at this point of time there is no room for branding these probes as politically motivated,” Chakraborty said.
The fact that the Trinamool Congress leadership itself admits that it is fighting a solitary political battle in these matters was evident from a recent comment of the Trinamool Congress state general secretary and party spokesman.
While Rahul Gandhi was being grilled by the ED in the National Herald Case, Ghosh said that on the one hand the state Congress leaders denounce Rahul Gandhi’s questioning and on the other hand the same Congress leaders cheer when the central agencies are directed against Trinamool leaders.
Former additional director general of West Bengal police, Nazrul Islam notes that since often certain actions and statements by Trinamool Congress leaders including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has opened the avenues for CBI enquiries, there is no scope for the ruling party to now cry political vendetta.
“Say, the case of the rape and murder of the minor girl at Hanskhali in Nadia district. Before the state police began even a proper investigation, the chief minister tried to give a love angle theory to the crime.
This made arguments in the court stronger that when the chief minister is herself coming to a conclusion about the crime, how can the state police conduct a free and fair probe.
So the argument of political vendetta in such cases does not stand at all,” Nazrul Islam said.According to political analyst Arundhati Mukherjee, the Trinamool Congress organizational expansion strategy in West Bengal since it came to power in 2011 has made the other non- BJP parties, especially the Congress, extremely bitter about the ruling party.
“In 2011, the Congress was an ally of the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. But that did not stop the TMC from starting its turncoat politics with the Congress, when several Congress leaders joined the Trinamool Congress either because of greed or some pressure.
Later the Trinamool started the same exercise with the Left Front parties, which they are now doing with the BJP. So, this turncoat expansion has really made the Trinamool Congress isolated in the state in its political battle against central agency probes,” Mukherjee said.