After announcing that her government will set up a relief fund of Rs 500 crore for those who went bankrupt in the chit fund scam, Banerjee turned the gun at the Centre on Friday, saying the latter can not evade its responsibility in the scam and should return the money, a report published in Ananda Bazaar Patrika said on Saturday.
She said organisations like Sebi, Reserve Bank of India and others approve these kinds of firms and hence they also share responsibility in the scam. She said the Centre should also return its share of funds.
Is Banerjee trying to work out a strategy blending political and economic considerations? Through accusing the Centre, Banerjee is not only trying to divert the attention from the fact that her Trinamool Congress (TMC) government has also been dragged into the fiasco, but also hoping to find more funds to manage the situation for she can sense that it is impossible to compensate so many people who went bankrupt.
A section of the ruling party fears that the scam could seriously damage its rural vote-base and that too just before the panchayat polls. The leaders were also worried by Banerjee's remark after the chit fund scheme went bust that "whatever us gone, is gone".
It is believed that the chief minister quickly announced the decision to set up a relief fund within two days of making the controversial remark. Demand has also been raised to alienate Kunal Ghosh, a party MP, for his alleged involvement in the Saradha scam. Ghosh, a journalist by profession, was the chief executive officer of Saradha Group Media.
The alleged involvement of a number of TMC rulers in the scam has put the party in further trouble. The opposition parties have pitched their voices against the Banerjee government and the latter, in desperation, have been targetting the Centre to divert the attention. The party has targetted a Congress MP from Bengal and wife of Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, accusing them of being involved in the scam.
The TMC leadership has alleged that the Centre and the former Left Front government were responsible for the mushrooming chit fund organisations. The party has been taking out protest rallies against the Centre and the Left Front.
Another concern has been the fund-raising issue. The state government has decided to inraise some funds through increasing tax in cigarettes but that can not ensure the full amount.
The state government is already going through a severe financial crunch and the CM knows it is difficult to raise the full amount without the help of the Centre. Hence, despite protest against the Centre, she is also, in a way, looking toward to get some favour.
The Saradha scam has put Banerjee at a huge disadvantage, both politically and economically. Not many are hopeful about a smooth exit from the chaos either.