Kolkata:The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress in West Bengal criticised Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, for “playing politics” while paying the last respects to actor-politician Tapas Paul, here on Wednesday.
Condoling Paul’s death, Banerjee blamed the BJP-led central government’s “political vengeance” for his demise. She alleged three persons, including a Trinamool MP and the wife of another Lok Sabha member, died in recent years as they couldn’t withstand the central agencies’ pressure.
Paul passed away on Tuesday. His mortal remains were kept at the Rabindra Sadan cultural complex for the people to pay homage.
Condemning Banerjee’s comments, Union Minister Babul Supriyo accused the TMC chief of indulging in “dirty politics” over Paul’s death.
Stating that he had no words to condemn Banerjee’s remark, Supriyo said, “Only Didi (as Banerjee is called) is capable of this.” He also raised the question why she didn’t call on Paul when she could go to Bhubanaeswar to see arrested TMC Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandopadhyay.
Both Paul and Bandopadhyay had been arrested in connection with the Rose Valley ponzi scam by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and taken to Bhubaneswar.
Supriyo said people were raising questions about how a simple and straight-forward man like Paul got involved in the TMC brand of politics. “They also want to know to what extent he could cope with such politics,” the BJP leader said.
Castigating Banerjee, former Bengal Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya said one shouldn’t talk politics standing before the body of a deceased. “Death is the end of a life. Standing before a deceased, one should only pay respects. That’s the right principle. The Chief Minister should have known that she can comment on the Centre and express her political thoughts from a rally ground.
“But the sort of comments she made before the mortal remains of a person, it’s nothing but political perversion”.
He alleged Paul’s death had again shown how his life had become terrible due to pressure mounted by central agencies. “He had become a mental and psychological wreck.”
Paul was arrested by the CBI on December 30, 2016, in connection with his association with the Rose Valley Group, one of the companies under investigation in the ponzi scam. He was released on bail after spending 13 months in prison in Bhubaneswar.