It was not an unusual sight. In fact rallies, slogan shouting and effigy-burning is very staple for Bengal politics. A report in The Telegraph said while there were a few opposition faces in the rally that was held in Kolkata on Friday, but most of them claimed to be apolitical and victims of the Saradha chit fund scam.
According to reports, Friday's rally in the heart of the city was not by any political party and it sent an eerie message to the Mamata Banerjee government. The protesters shouted slogans and drew a parallel between 'Saradha-moni' and the despot in Satyajit Ray’s film Hirak Rajar Deshe.
"Dori dhorey maro taan, Saradha-moni hobey khaan khaan (Tug at the rope hard, the Saradha lady will fall apart)," shouted 10,000 protesters in Kolkata on Friday afternoon. Chit Fund Sufferers’ Unity Forum's protesters were playing on the unforgettable lines from Ray’s movie: “Dori dhorey maro taan, Raja hobey khaan khaan (Tug at the rope hard, the king will fall apart),” The Telegraph said.
The stinging slogan has come at a time when Mamata Banerjee and her government's honesty has been put to a litmus test.
Over the past three months, investigators have called in for questioning as many as five Trinamool Congress MPs, one state minister, and several other leaders, an Indian Express report has said. And on Thursday, West Bengal's law minister Chandrima Bhattacharya protested against the CBI's "process of investigation" into the Saradha chit fund scam.
Protesting and rallying is not new to Bengal politics but targetting Mamata the way it was done on Friday is new. There are couple of instances where her party members and sometimes even her statements have drawn ridicule, questions about her integrity were never aired in such a "stark manner," the Telegraph report said. And the long, unending silence on Mamata's part has only added to the public anger.
The turnout, which was largely apolitical, choked the traffic and surprised police and onlookers. Speaking to The Telegraph, a former Naxalite leader Chatterjee said:
“Frankly, we did not expect such a response to our call. This is only because popular rage surpasses political allegiances when lives have been toyed with.”
In the rally was a 52-year-old disgruntled grocer who had lost Rs 40,000 in a Saradha scam. Telegraph quoted him as saying:
“We have been betrayed by Didi and her party…. Most of us have lost everything. This would not have been possible without the government’s active backing of Saradha.”
The desperation is not just in the public. There is a rising clamour in the Trinamool leadership as CBI and enforcement directorate are closing in on the party and its cadre. The Indian Express noted:
"While the first — Kunal Ghosh — has demanded that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee be questioned as well, the ex-DGP, Rajat Majumdar — who is now a Trinamool vice-president — had a meltdown in court on Thursday, shouting that the CBI would not be able to force him to implicate either Mamata or her close aide Mukul Roy in the case."
If the IE report is to be believed, Mamata's TMC and her cadre, just by the use of muscle power are trying to create diversions and interfering with the ongoing probe. Bengal's law minister Bhattacharya used the most repeated line and said that the CBI was being used by the "Narendra Modi government to malign our Chief Minister.”
Earlier, she had described the CBI investigation as “politically motivated”, and alleged that Trinamool leaders were being summoned to the CBI office "to influence the assembly by-poll results".
In a statement to The Telegraph, Trinamool secretary-general Partha Chatterjee dismissed the gathering of Friday as “a group of political leaders rejected by the people… shedding crocodile tears."
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Updated Date: Sep 13, 2014 14:06:54 IST