Kolkata, Feb 04, 2024, IANS
Kolkata, Feb 4 (IANS) Since 2021 a new narrative has evolved in the political circles of West Bengal which is the “whitewash theory in corruption”. The narrative was coined mainly by the ruling Trinamool Congress initially targeting both the then-party’s national vice president Mukul Roy and the-then transport minister Suvendu Adhikari after both quit the Trinamool Congress and joined the BJP.
The ruling party leadership claimed that both Roy and Adhikari had shifted their political loyalties to escape the Central agencies' probe after both featured in the Narada video tape sting, where several Trinamool Congress leaders and an Indian Police Service officer were seen accepting cash against promises of doling out favours to a private entity.
However, the use of that narrative against Roy gradually faded and stopped completely as the latter returned to the Trinamool Congress after the 2021 Lok Sabha polls.
However, the narrative on the same lines continued against Adhikari and it became more vociferous after he became the Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal and resorted to all-out attacks on the state government and the ruling party with special focus on the issue of corruption.
Adhikari also came out with a counter -- casting aspersions on the “real intentions behind the Narada video scam." At a press conference he claimed that the sting operations were funded by an erstwhile Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member following instructions from an influential ruling party leader targeting the old-timers in the Trinamool Congress.
Surprisingly, Adhikari’s claims received tacit acceptance from a senior Trinamool Congress leader, municipal affairs & urban development minister and the Mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Firhad Hakim, who claimed that the real story behind the sting operations has already been revealed by Adhikari.
The state unit of the BJP led by the Leader of the Opposition also floated a “counter whitewash” theory against the ruling force. The saffron camp leaders from the state claimed that the whitewash theory is also applicable in the case of the Trinamool Congress, as several cases against a number of BJP leaders were withdrawn overnight soon after they joined the ruling camp.
The most highlighted example on this count was the Lok Sabha member from Barrackpore in North 24 Parganas district, Arjun Singh, who joined the BJP from the Trinamool Congress before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, got elected from Barrackpore and then again went back to the ruling party after the 2021 state assembly polls.
As far as the Congress and the CPI(M) are concerned, they are accusing both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP of being clandestine partners in applying this whitewash theory against each other.
According to the Congress and the Leftist leaders this game of shifting camps between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress and then applying the “whitewash theory" against each other had been continuing for quite some time with neither the Union government nor the state government really keen to act against corruption.
They have questioned why when the Central agencies are so prompt in acting against the top opposition leaders in other states including a couple of chief ministers, why they have stopped at the second rung of the ruling party leadership like former education minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee.
Their question is also that if the Trinamool Congress believes that leaders joining the BJP from their camp are doing so to whitewash their past involvement in corruption, then why did not the ruling party or the state administration take action against them when they were part of the Trinamool Congress.
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