- Do you want to hear breaking news, asked Bengal BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty
- Mithun said that 38 TMC MLAs have good relations with the BJP
- Mithun's statement has come at a time when Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee is being grilled by ED
West Bengal politics: BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty in a startling revelation said that close to 40 TMC MLAs have good relations with the BJP while 21 of them are in direct contact with the saffron party.
"Do you want to hear breaking news? At this moment, 38 TMC MLAs have very good relations with us, out of which 21 are in direct (contact with us)," BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty said in Kolkata.
At least 38 TMC MLAs are in touch with the BJP. Out of them, 21 are personally in touch with me. When I was in Mumbai, I read in newspapers one fine morning that the Shiv Sena and the BJP have formed the government in Maharashtra, he said while addressing a press conference.
The TMC, while reacting to his allegations, said the famed actor is "trying to fool the people by making false claims".
Chakraborty said the BJP is in power in 18 states, and the party's flag will "fly high in a few other states very soon".
"The BJP will not stop its fight in West Bengal. If free and fair polls are held in the state today, the party will form the next government," he said.
"Such statements are an attempt to fool the masses. It has no relation with reality," TMC MP Santanu Sen said.
The TMC has 216 MLAs in the 294-member West Bengal Assembly. The opposition BJP has 75 legislators. However, five saffron party MLAs have joined the ruling party without resigning as legislators.
In Maharashtra, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress collapsed last month after Eknath Shinde raised a banner of revolt against the Sena leadership with a majority of party MLAs. Shinde was sworn in as the new chief minister of Maharashtra and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as deputy CM in Mumbai.
Mithun's statement has come amid the arrest of TMC Minister Partha Chatterjee and his close aide in the SSC scam case.
On Tuesday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) grilled Partha Chatterjee and his alleged associate Arpita Mukherjee, arrested in connection with the school jobs scam.
The agency also issued summons to Manik Bhattacharya, TMC MLA and former president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE), for questioning in connection with the scam.
Chatterjee, who was brought back to Kolkata at 6.30 AM after a thorough check-up at AIIMS Bhubaneswar, was straightaway taken to the ED office at CGO complex.
He is being questioned.
A special ED court on Monday remanded both Chatterjee and Mukherjee to ED custody till August 3 on a prayer by the agency for questioning them to unearth the alleged money trail involved in the teacher recruitment scam.
While Chatterjee was produced before the special court through the virtual mode as per a Calcutta High Court order, Mukherjee was physically produced before it.
The high court had on Sunday directed that Chatterjee be taken to AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, for a medical check-up by specialists of various departments on Monday.
The ED challenged a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (in-charge) court's order sending Chatterjee to state-run SSKM Hospital after his lawyers claimed he was ill.
The agency asserted that the court cannot specify a medical facility.
Doctors at the premier medical establishment in Bhubaneswar said Chatterjee was suffering from chronic diseases, but did not need immediate hospitalisation.
Chatterjee was arrested by the ED on Saturday in connection with its investigation into irregularities in the recruitment drives by the School Service Commission (SSC).
The senior Trinamool Congress leader held the education portfolio when the alleged appointment scam took place.
Meanwhile, ED issued summons to Bhattacharya, a TMC MLA from Nadia district and a former president of WBBSE, asking him to depose before officials of the agency at CGO Complex at noon on Wednesday, sources said.
ED had already conducted search operations on Bhattacharya's residential premises on July 22.
Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury has urged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee "to immediately sack" Chatterjee from the state cabinet.
(With inputs from PTI)