Babul Supriyo would argue that it has been a tough week for him. First he had to suffer the embarrassment of being named and asked to stand at a Parliamentary Party meeting for his absence during voting in the Lok Sabha on crucial bills last week. Supriyo then earned the dubious distinction of featuring in a 10-minute video, which showed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader at the inauguration of a hotel owned by chit fund company Rose Valley. Supriyo must have hoped that his visit to the inauguration would probably go unnoticed. Except that it did not.
The video shows Supriyo seated next to Rose Valley chief Gautam Kundu at the inauguration of the ninth hotel of the Rose Valley Group, where the Union Minister was the chief guest. The fact that Supriyo has got not even a reprimand from the party high command for the inadvertent exposure of his links to Kundu smacks of political double standards on part of BJP. It is a well known fact that the Central Bureau of Investigation has been going hammer and tongs against Trinamool Congress leaders. Perhaps more glaring than this is the fact that during rallies last year the singer-turned-politician was seen criticising TMC and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the Saradha scam.
Supriyo has frequently positioned himself as a clean politician guided by the vision of Narendra Modi and his supposedly constructive brand of politics. During an idea exchange with a national daily he had lambasted Arvind Kejriwal for being confused and akin to Honey Singh; all hype and no substance. The fact of the matter still remains that neither Singh’s nor Kejriwal’s popularity is on the wane. Supriyo’s popularity and credentials as a clean politician however might take a hit after this latest expose. This video which is being aired on regional channels in West Bengal shows Supriyo, clad in a pink full-sleeve shirt, sitting next to Kundu and a host of other Rose Valley officials. It has stoked a furious political debate in Bengal on the leeway being accorded to a minister in the central government; while at the same time Trinamool Congress leaders are being relentlessly investigated by the CBI with a lot of zeal.
The Rose Valley group runs a tour and travel company whose records were sought by Enforcement Directorate officials. They were expecting some big names of TMC to crop up, but records also showed that Babul Supriyo enjoyed their hospitality at least seven times recently. Babul Supriyo must answer to the general public as to why he chose to associate with a prominent scam accused, especially so publicly? Was it merely the amicable hospitality extended by Gautam Kundu or is there more than what meets the eye?