BJP Leads Cut Money Protest In Kolkata, Accuses TMC Leaders

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Kolkata: The raging protests against cut money that have rocked Bengal for the last few weeks reached the state capital Kolkata on Tuesday as BJP leaders held a demonstration demanding that senior Trinamool Congress leaders immediately return the people’s money.

The demonstration, led by leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) West Bengal unit including state General Secretary Pratap Banerjee and the party’s Lok Sabha poll candidates Debjit Darker and Bharati Ghoh, was held at south Kolkata’s Hazra Crossing, a few kilometres from Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee’s Kalighat residence.

The saffron party workers carrying banners and placards with messages like ‘return the cut money’, ‘Trinamool is a party of cut money’ raised slogans against Banerjee and her party leaders.

“Mamata Banerjee has asked her party’s grassroot level leaders to return cut money. But the reality is they only took 25 per cent of the money while the rest 75 per cent went into the pockets of Banerjee, her family members and a handful of senior leaders. We want her to return the rest 75 per cent money to people,” BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu said.

The BJP leadership has already said that they would lead a bigger movement on the issue.

Former IPS officer-turned-BJP leader Bharati Ghosh, who was once considered very close to Banerjee, accused her of ordering police action against those demanding the cut money back.

“This is nothing but her drama. At one side she is asking her party workers to give back the commission or cut money to people. On the other hand she has directed police to take action against those who have asked for their money back. Many people in the villages have been put in jail in false cases in the last few days,” she alleged.

The BJP leaders present at the demonstration also warned the Trinamool leaders that the common people of Bengal will stop their vehicles while coming to the party’s Martyrs’ Day rally on July 21 and ask them to return the cut money.

It all began at a party councillors’ meeting on June 18 when Banerjee lashed out against a section of party functionaries for taking cut money from people for implementing government welfare schemes, and asked them to return the money to those whom they have fleeced.

Within days, the protests started as locals staged demonstrations or laid siege outside the houses of Trinamool leaders, councillors and panchayat functionaries, accusing them of taking cut money and demanding its return.

Over 40 such protests have been held so far. Facing such unprecedented public anger, some of the accused have either returned the money or given written undertakings promising to return the amounts they had taken from beneficiaries for schemes such as the ‘Banglar Bari Awas Yojana’.