Mamata Tries to Pass the BuckMamata Banerjee, in an effort to distance herself and the party from the Saradha scam, said a couple of days back that the party is not to blame if certain members are found to corner ill-begotten funds. This is a strange statement coming from one of the cleanest leaders India has seen. To understand why this stand is unacceptable, one has to delve deeper into the working and control system of a party like the Trinamool Congress (AITMC).
By Sunil Garodia
As with any closely held political party, decision making in AITMC starts and ends with its supremo, Mamata Banerjee. Nothing in the party happens without the express permission and by extension, knowledge of the supreme leader. Also, West Bengal followed a tradition of political parties having a finger in every pie, including personal lives of citizens, for the 34 years of Left rule. The TMC has carried this forward.
Hence party leaders indulge in all kind of dubious activities like providing shelter to building syndicates, chit funds and other nefarious businesses for a fee. It goes without saying that a major part of this money is taken as funding for the party. The Left at least maintained a faÃ§ade of collecting small donations of Rs 5 and Rs 10 from shopkeepers and households to show it was a bourgeoisie party. TMC does not even do that. The party is flush with funds and spends lavishly during elections. So where do the funds come from?
Banerjee herself is a simple person with small needs. Her needs can be entirely met by the salary she receives. But the same is not true of the party. Politics is a costly business despite the caps on spending in place. The army of goons any political party maintains requires a fortune. Vaulting political ambitions have meant that the TMC needs a huge war chest. It ensures that its coffers are filled regularly by its leaders. Now if the she turns a blind eye to the source of funds and chooses to distance herself and the party from the wrongdoing of one of her hitherto trusted lieutenants, she is showing that either she is naÃ¯ve or that she thinks that public is stupid enough to believe her.