New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress sent out a clear message of support for its beleaguered MP Mahua Moitra Monday, by appointing her a district president in West Bengal — days after a parliamentary ethics panel recommended her expulsion from Lok Sabha in a ‘cash-for-query’ case.
The TMC’s move to arm Moitra with a key organisational role is significant as the party had maintained a studied silence for nearly a month — from the time allegations were made against her to the ethics committee’s probe and subsequent report to Speaker Om Birla last week.
West Bengal’s ruling party and a key constituent of the Opposition’s INDIA bloc, the Trinamool had earlier said it would take an “appropriate decision” only after the conclusion of the ethics committee probe.
But barely four days after the panel adopted a report, recommending her expulsion for the remainder of the 17th Lok Sabha, the TMC made Moitra the district president of Krishnanagar (Nadia North). Moitra had won the Krishnanagar constituency in 2019 by 65,404 votes, defeating BJP’s Kalyan Chaubey.
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The charge against Mahua
Moitra has been accused of accepting cash and expensive gifts for asking questions in Parliament that were critical of billionaire businessman Gautam Adani. It was alleged by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey that she did so at the behest of Dubai-based businessman Darshan Hiranandani. Dubey also accused her of sharing her parliamentary login credentials with Hiranandani, allowing him to post the questions directly on the portal. Dubey said he had irrefutable information on this from Supreme Court advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, a former partner of the TMC MP.
On Monday, Moitra thanked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the party leadership for her new role, saying she would “always work with the party for the people of Krishnanagar”.
Moitra was previously chosen the TMC’s Nadia district president in 2019 but was removed in a major organisational rejig two years later. The party had then decided to appoint two presidents for Nadia, splitting it into two organisational zones — Krishnanagar (Nadia North), and Ranaghat (Nadia South).
Before her election to the Lok Sabha in 2019, Moitra represented Nadia’s Karimpur constituency as MLA after winning the seat in the 2016 state polls.
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TMC’s changing stance
Following the adoption of the committee report last Friday, Moitra had said that the Trinamool leadership firmly stood by her. In a post addressed to “Mr Adani” on X, the MP asked him not to waste time telling everyone that “Mahua’s ticket would be cut”. She announced she would fight again from Krishnanagar and double her margin.
The statement came a day after TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said Moitra was strong enough to fight her own battles. It was a far cry from the TMC’s initial stand when leaders said they would not wade into the controversy just yet.
A week after the allegations were made in mid-October, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh had told ThePrint, “We have nothing to say on the issue. The party has no reaction to offer.”
A day later, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien had told PTI, “Since the matter has to do with an elected MP, her rights and privileges, let the matter be investigated by the right forum of Parliament, after which the party leadership will take an appropriate decision.”
Meanwhile, on Monday, the TMC removed jailed leader Anubrata Mondal from the post of Birbhum district president. Mondal, who faces charges of cattle smuggling and money laundering, is presently incarcerated in Tihar jail.
(Edited by Tikli Basu)
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