"Opposition stands together": Mamata Banerjee on ED Questioning Robert Vadra

Mr2211 February 06, 2019

KOLKATA : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who sat on a three-day dharna against the Central Bureau of Investigation's move against Kolkata Police Commissioner till yesterday, has come out in support of businessman Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi today in connection with a money laundering case. "We are united, we are together," Ms Banerjee said, when asked about Mr Vadra's questioning.

Robert Vadra is being questioned in a case involving purchase of a series of properties in the UK. Mr Vadra, who is also the son-in-law of Congress leader and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, has said he is being subjected to "unwarranted, unjustified and malicious criminal prosecution" for political reasons. 

"There is no serious case, nothing. Just sending the notice casually to everybody. So we stand together, we are united, we are together. We will walk together," said Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata.

"They (centre) are doing it deliberately ahead of the polls," she added.

The Trinamool Congress chief had so far kept the Congress at an arm's length, focusing instead on the role of regional powers to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP in the general elections, due by May. 

However, after Rahul Gandhi reached out to her during her sit-in protest on Sunday and tweeted "we stand shoulder to shoulder with her", Ms Banerjee signaled on Monday the possibility of closer cooperation. "It is our duty to work together... And work with the Congress at the national level," she had said.Ms Banerjee had been one of the key interlocutors of the opposition and amped her efforts last month with a mega rally of 23 opposition parties in Kolkata - a move she says is at the bottom of current row, due to the BJP's "political vendetta".

The patchwork alliance, however, has been hobbled by ideological differences and local-level enmity, seen between the Left and Trinamool, and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress in Delhi.The other case in point is Congress and the Trinamool Congress in Bengal.

While Ms Banerjee shares a warm rapport with Sonia Gandhi, her relation with Rahul Gandhi has been marked by a certain chill. And at the local level, leaders of the two parties have been at loggerheads, which even the current crisis has not been able to smooth over.

"There is no democracy in Bengal. It's with the help of ruling government that people were looted off in the chit fund scam. This police commissioner is Mamata's servant, he will do whatever she says," Congress parliamentarian from Bengal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, told news agency ANI on Tuesday.

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