The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has decided to take its protests against the arrests of two of its MPs in connection with Rose Valley chit fund scam to Bhubaneswar, where they are currently lodged in CBI custody. A “massive protest rally” has been planned in the capital of Odisha on January 10. Tapas Paul was arrested on December 30, while Sudip Bandyopadhyay had been arrested on January 3, after which a furious TMC had alleged that the arrests betray the Modi government’s “politics of vendetta”.
The protest will be led by several senior TMC leaders including party general secretary Partha Chatterjee, all-India general secretary Subrata Bakshi, Cabinet Minister Soumen Mahapatra and also former ministers Manish Gupta and Chandrima Bhattacharya. They arrived in Odisha on Sunday to lead the protests there.
While leaving Kolkata, Chatterjee said, “Sudip and Tapas were arrested with the political intention of terrorising the TMC. But we have the ability to withstand whatever the Centre may have in mind.” Party leaders including Sudip’s wife also met the MP.
“He is keeping well. His morale is high,” Chatterjee said after meeting the arrested leader.
The leaders will be overseeing preparations for the rally, which they said would be held at the lower PMG Square, an important junction of Bhubaneswar. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, is unlikely to address the event.
The TMC has been protesting outside the CBI office in Bhubaneswar right the day Sudip was produced in court. Party leader from East Midnapore district, Akhil Giri, had gone to Bhubaneswar on the night of January 3, when Sudip had arrived there, hours after his arrest. TMC sources said Giri and Mahapatra have been asked to ensure that party workers from the districts of East and West Midnapore — both bordering Odisha — make it to the city for the rally on Tuesday.
Stung by Sudip’s arrest, a furious Mamata had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using central agencies like the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and the income tax department against his political rivals who were raising their voice against demonetisation.