West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said corrective measures should be taken if “mistakes” were committed in the recruitment process but no one should be terminated from services as they have families to take care of.
Ms Banerjee’s comment came as the Calcutta High Court terminated the services of thousands of people who were appointed illegally as teaching and non-teaching staff at state-sponsored and state-aided schools across West Bengal through manipulation in the recruitment process.
“If I have made any mistake, you can slap me and I will not mind. I have not wronged anyone, knowingly. After I came to power, I have not taken away the jobs of CPI(M) cadres, but why are you doing this? You don’t have the ability to give a job, but you are snatching away people’s livelihoods,” she said, apparently targeting CPI(M) MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, a lawyer who was fighting many of these cases in the court.
Urging the court to rethink its decisions to terminate the services, CM Banerjee said a re-examination can also be considered for such people.
“I will ask you to rethink. Even yesterday, two people died by suicide in Jalpaiguri. If someone else did something wrong, why will these people suffer? If someone loses his job suddenly, how will they look after their family? Give that person a chance. If needed, allow him to take another test. We will prepare another setup as per the court’s order,” she said.
Ms Banerjee was visibly emotional as she was speaking on the issue while addressing the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Sri Aurobindo at the Alipore Judges’ Court campus.
“Not everyone is a TMC cadre. A government employee can be a supporter of any political party. If any of them has done anything wrong, I will take action against them. I do not have any sympathy for them. But, we must see that those who got the jobs are not victimised,” she said.
The ED and CBI have arrested former education minister Partha Chatterjee along with several top-rung education officials and senior TMC leaders as the two central agencies began probing the allegations of illegal appointments made in the state’s schools in exchange of crores for rupees.
Mr Bhattacharya, the senior CPI(M) leader, said that instead of asking the court to rethink its decision of terminating the services of undeserving candidates, Ms Banerjee must step down taking responsibility for the whole fiasco.
“During the Left Front government, appointments were done following the due procedures. She has no power to take away any job,” he said.
Meanwhile, the BJP alleged that Ms Banerjee was herself involved in the irregularities.
“The statement proves the chief minister’s involvement in the irregularities. Now, she is trying to save her face,” senior state BJP leader Rahul Sinha alleged.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)