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This is Lok Sabha, not Bengal Vidhan Sabha, says Speaker after BJP, TMC spat

By Anuj Cariappa
|

New Delhi, July 04: Speaker Om Birla told the sparring BJP and TMC MPs not to turn Lok Sabha into West Bengal assembly after the members were engaged in a verbal duel on the issue of "cut money".

Just after the Question Hour, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, leader of the Trinamool Congress in the House, demanded that the name of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee be expunged from the proceedings.

Speaker Om Birla

He was referring to the allegations levelled by BJP MP Locket Chatterjee on Monday that local TMC leaders were charging "cut money or commission" from people in the state.

"I wish to speak about the biggest scam in Bengal, the 'cut money' scam. What is this cut money? When a child is in the womb...when the mother is taken to the hospital for delivery, the menace of cut money begins, as the hospital charges for the bed and treatment. And when someone expires and is carried to the cremation ground, commission or cut money is demanded there as well," the BJP MP had said.

"The Trinamool supremo must answer, must give a reply to the people. Only shouting will not do," Chatterjee had said.

Trinamool Congress MPs have strongly protested against the allegations.

On Wednesday, Bandyopadhyay said if any "such wild allegations" are raised in the West Bengal assembly against the prime minister and if it is not expunged, "it will not look good".

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"The chief minister of West Bengal is not present in the House. Our chief minister is one of the honest and best chief ministers of the country. I believe that it (Banerjee's name) should be expunged from the proceedings of the House," he said.

BJP MPs from West Bengal strongly protested against Bandyopadhyay's remarks and a verbal duel ensued between the two groups.

As the din continued, Pallab Lochan Das of the BJP was unable to speak during the Zero Hour.

Speaker Birla interrupted and said, "Respected members, this is not the Vidhan Sabha of West Bengal...Don't make it the Vidhan Sabha of West Bengal."

The BJP and the TMC are locked in a bitter turf war in West Bengal as the saffron party made inroads in the state in the recent Lok Sabha polls winning 18 seats, just four less than the ruling TMC in the state.

The saffron party had accused the TMC of running a "syndicate raj" in the state.

Residents have protested outside the houses of Trinamool leaders in many parts of the state, demanding return of the "cut money" taken from them.

On Friday, in a meeting with elected representatives of her party, Banerjee had warned them against taking "cut money" from beneficiaries of government schemes, according to party leaders.

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