A few days ago, TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had declared on a televised meeting that she won’t tolerate any further corruption by TMC leaders. She went on to urge the local level leaders of her party to return all the “cut money” that they may have taken from common people.
“Cut money” is a term used in West Bengal in reference to the commission charged by some party workers from people who want to avail government scheme benefits.
Ever since the CM’s declaration, protests are being observed across West Bengal with angry people demanding refund of the commission that they allegedly had paid to TMC leaders. Many local level TMC leaders and councillors were forced by angry people to admit that they had taken commission and promised of returning it, soonest possible.
The protests are being observed especially in village side, where some have even come up with lists containing the name of people who were made to pay commission and the amount of it. Amid all this, BJP leader Mukul Roy has alleged that local level leaders only keep 25% commission while the the rest goes into the pockets of those in high command and hence the protesters should instead demand refund from none other than Banerjee herself.
A Trinamool Congress booth president became the first in West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s “return cut money” drive by giving back Rs 2.25 lakh he had taken from labourers in Chatra village of Birbhum district.
Bengal BJP president and newly elected MP Dilip Ghosh spoke on this in his maiden speech in Parliament on Tuesday. “The CM has taken cognisance of the cut money without which nothing moves in Bengal,” he said.
BJP leaders said the development in Birbhum was a vindication of PM Narendra Modi’s complaint against “tolabaji tax (extortion tax)” during his election campaign in Bengal.
The issue also reverberated in the Bengal assembly on Tuesday when the opposition Left and Congress members demanded the creation of a commission to probe “cut money” cases. It was rejected by TMC. The issue, however, has gone far beyond the legislature, with people across the state demanding return of cut money.
More than a hundred auto operators mobbed Tarakeswar police station on Tuesday demanding return of cut money they paid allegedly to Srikanta Goswami, husband of TMC councillor Putul Goswami. The agitators told police that each of them had to give Rs 20,000-25,000 to the Trinamool leader.