Victory will be fitting reply to expulsion from Lok Sabha, says Mahua Moitra

"The BJP is sounding the death knell for India as a constitutional democracy. But India is too great a nation to be destroyed by these fascist thugs,” remarked Moitra

Krishnanagar TMC candidate Mahua Moitra at an election campaign rally for Lok Sabha polls at Dhubuliya, in Nadia district, 31 March 31 (photo: PTI)
Krishnanagar TMC candidate Mahua Moitra at an election campaign rally for Lok Sabha polls at Dhubuliya, in Nadia district, 31 March 31 (photo: PTI)


Exuding confidence in securing her Krishnanagar Lok Sabha seat with a bigger margin, senior TMC leader Mahua Moitra feels that her victory would be a fitting response to the “conspiracy” to expel her from Lok Sabha last year and tarnish her reputation through raids and summons by central agencies in a cash-for-query case.

She asserted that despite all efforts by the BJP to "sound the death knell" for constitutional democracy, India is too great a country to be destroyed by the fascists.

Moitra, who was re-nominated by the TMC from the same Krishnanagar seat after being expelled last year, accused the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of acting as "political agents of the saffron camp".

In an interview with PTI, Moitra said the Election Commission has "lost its independence" since commissioners are handpicked by a selection committee where the Centre has two-thirds majority.

"There is no doubt about my victory. It is about how big the margin will be, which will be decided on June 4. I live here and have been among my people for the past five years and even before that as an MLA. So there is a very strong connection, and frankly, there is no election mode as such here," she said.

She won by a margin of over 60,000 votes in the 2019 elections, bagging 45 per cent of the total votes polled.

"My victory would be a fitting response to the conspiracy to expel me and tarnish my reputation," the 49-year-old politician said.

Moitra, known for her outspokenness and fiery debates in the Lok Sabha, was expelled from the Lower House in December last year after a parliamentary Ethics Committee's report held her accountable for accepting gifts and illegal gratification.

The former investment banker with JP Morgan Chase, who had dubbed the expulsion recommendation by the Ethics committee as a "prefixed match by a kangaroo court", claimed the BJP has been trying to destroy democracy in the country.

“I have been saying this since my first speech in Parliament. The BJP is sounding the death knell for India as a constitutional democracy… But India is too great a nation to be destroyed by these fascist thugs,” she said.

Asked why the people of her constituency would believe her side of the story instead of the version propagated by the BJP, Moitra said she is the daughter of the soil.

“This is my Karmabhoomi and my Dharmabhoomi. My people will back me 100 per cent,” she said.

While the cash-for-query controversy brought an abrupt end to her first term as a parliamentarian, it undeniably enhanced her stature within the party, with unwavering support from the TMC top leadership and the entire opposition.

Speaking about the CBI raids at her premises and summons by the Enforcement Directorate, which she has skipped, Moitra alleged those agencies are an integral part of the BJP.

The CBI conducted a raid on her property regarding the cash-for-query case, prompted by the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal's directive following allegations from BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, which she rejected.

Additionally, the Enforcement Directorate has issued fresh summons to her and businessman Darshan Hiranandani for questioning in a case involving contravention of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

Moitra recently complained to the EC, alleging that the BJP was employing the CBI and the ED to disrupt her campaign and tarnish her image before the elections, although she expressed scepticism about the poll panel taking any action on the matter.

“The EC itself now has lost its independence. The commissioners are handpicked by the two-thirds majority of the prime minister and the home minister. Within 30 minutes, 200 names were given to choose (two Election Commissioners after the resignation of Arun Goel last month). The entire exercise is a farce,” she said.

The former MLA from Karimpur seat in the West Bengal Assembly said opposition leaders and political parties still write to the EC, as “we need to write and record it for history, and that is also important”.

Asked if re-elected, whether she would continue with the same zeal in attacking the saffron party on policy issues, Moitra shot back, “What do you think… I will get back to my seat and sing paeans to the BJP?”

Moitra had repeatedly questioned the Centre's involvement in the expansion of assets of a private conglomerate and had moved multiple lawsuits in the Supreme Court challenging various policies made by the Narendra Modi government.

On whether it is possible to defeat the BJP-led NDA, as the opposition bloc INDIA is not finding enough traction in most of the states, Moitra said, “The people are the ultimate decision-makers. I have faith in the people. It may be delayed but it will happen.”

The TMC leader said implementation of CAA rules will not have much impact in her constituency, which has a considerable Matua population.

“The Matua population is in higher numbers in the neighbouring seat of Ranaghat. Here we have a small percentage. But yes, Matua organisations themselves are telling their members not to apply for CAA and mark themselves as illegal foreigners, given they have enjoyed all state benefits for the past years,” she said.

Moitra was referring to All India Matua Mahasangha’s directive that has advised its members to abstain from submitting citizenship applications due to a lack of necessary documents proving their previous residential address in Bangladesh.

When asked about her opinion on her opponent from the saffron camp, ‘Rajmata’ Amrita Roy of the Krishnanagar Royal family, she said the candidate is of no consequence to her.

“My fight is against the BJP symbol. I am least bothered about who they have put up. June 4 will show the results,” she said.

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Published: 02 Apr 2024, 9:26 AM