New Delhi: A furious Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday refused to calm down when Sonia Gandhi reached out to her after a Congress leader of Bengal attacked her in parliament. “We will remember,” declared the Bengal Chief Minister when she encountered Sonia Gandhi, UPA chairperson and former Congress president, later.
The two came face to face at the Central Hall of parliament shortly after Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress’s top leader in Bengal, attacked Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress over the Saradha chit fund case in Lok Sabha.
“We are accusing each other but we are friends,” Sonia Gandhi said to Mamata Banerjee, drawing a terse response. Adhir Chowdhury had piped up during a discussion on a bill to crack down on unregulated schemes and chit funds, and said Mamata Banerjee was complicit in the Saradha chit fund scam. He said lakhs of people were looted and their money should be returned. His remarks were followed by chest-thumping by delighted BJP members.
Several members of Bengal’s ruling party have been charged or arrested in the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund cases involving the swindle of crores taken from small investors.
During the campaign for the 2016 West Bengal polls, the Congress and Rahul Gandhi had repeatedly accused Mamata Banerjee of corruption linked to the chit fund cases. That situation has vastly changed ahead of the national election due by May, as opposition parties project unity against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. The Congress sent its leaders to Mamata Banerjee’s opposition unity rally in Kolkata last month. Last night, the Bengal Chief Minister said the questioning of Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra is “nothing but political vendetta ahead of the Lok Sabha polls”. But Bengal Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary has missed the memo. So it seems as he frequently targets the Trinamool Congress.
Mamata Banerjee was also asked recently about the Congress’s double-speak. “I don’t care… it is their internal issue. What happens in states is different,” she had said.