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Trinamool faces the heat as protests over SSC scam grows

Job aspirants holding demonstration at Mayo road in Kolkata against the alleged irregularities in the School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment on Saturday

Job aspirants holding demonstration at Mayo road in Kolkata against the alleged irregularities in the School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment on Saturday | Photo Credit: DEBASISH BHADURI

While the Trinamool Congress leadership tried to placate protesting job aspirants seeking an employment in the State-run schools, protests has erupted in different parts of the city on Saturday over the alleged irregularities in the recruitments carried out by the West Bengal School Service Commission.

Trinamool Congress leadership has tried a course correction by holding meetings with the protesters who have been agitating against the alleged irregularities in the recruitment process. On Friday evening, Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee met a group of protesting job seekers and assured them that he will look into their demands. The situation however, took a different turn on Saturday with more and more groups of job seekers hitting the streets and demanding a meeting with Mr. Banerjee. 

Since Friday evening another group of job seekers held a demonstration outside the office of Mr. Banerjee at Camac Street. The police had to use force to remove the protesters from the venue on Saturday afternoon. “Dear teaching applicants, Pl don’t get provoked by distorted statements of some parties. @AITCofficial is fully with you all. Some persons have done wrong. Govt & party have taken strong steps. Now @MamataOfficial and @abhishekaitc are trying to solve your problem. Pl cooperate,” TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said on Twitter. 

As the Opposition parties raised questions on how Mr. Banerjee, who has no portfolio with the West Bengal government, can assure jobs to protesting students, Mr. Ghosh said that there is nothing wrong in the Trinamool Congress MP trying to sort out the imbroglio. “The school recruitment issue has become a mess because of a few people who were tasked with resolving the crisis. The guilty must be punished or the scam will become a precedent in the future,” Mr. Ghosh said once again targeting arrested former Minister Partha Chatterjee for the scam.

Despite the intervention of the party’s general secretary, protests and demonstrations in the city assumed new proportions on Saturday. Even a section of students, who met Mr. Banerjee on Friday, joined the protests at Kolkata’s Mayo Road. The students have been protesting for almost a year now against the alleged irregularities in the School Service Commission recruitment. The arrest of the former Minister and the recovery of cash amounting to ₹50 crore in the scam has embarrassed the West Bengal government. Mr. Chatterjee was stripped of all his ministerial and party responsibilities on Thursday. The former Minister and his aide Arpita Mukherjee will remain in the custody of Enforcement Directorate (ED) till August 3.

On Saturday, the ED started the process of freezing bank accounts of Mr. Chatterjee and Ms. Mukherjee , where they have found at least ₹2 crore, a senior official of the agency said on Saturday.

 BJP president detained

Along with the SSC job aspirants, the political parties in the Opposition also hit the streets in protest against the scam. State BJP president Sukanata Majumdar, who was holding protests at Hazra, was detained by the Kolkata Police. There were protests outside the Lalbazar Police headquarters, where BJP supporters squatted, demanding release of their leader. Mr. Majumdar was released later in the evening . “Our supporters were assaulted by the police. We will continue to protest on the streets and will lay siege to Nabanna ( State Secretariat) in September,” he said.

State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also staged a protest against the scam. The BJP, Congress and the Left parties have blamed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the scam. “If the West Bengal Police was not aware of such a huge wrongdoings, then the Chief Minister who holds the Home portfolio must resign,” Mr. Chowdhury said.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2022 12:51:16 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/as-protests-over-ssc-scam-grow-trinamool-tries-course-correction/article65703327.ece