Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee can do no wrong as she is like a god, West Bengal minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay said on Sunday, asserting that even priests sometimes turn out to be thieves, but not gods.
Chattopadhyay's comments, which triggered a controversy, came as the TMC battles allegations of irregularities in school recruitment with several of its top-rung leaders, including former education minister Partha Chatterjee, arrested.
"Mamata Banerjee is like a god who we worship. Even the priests worshipping the god can at times be a thief but not the god, the idol he worships," he said, addressing a public meeting at Khardah in North 24 Parganas district.
"Even I can be a thief, but not Mamata Banerjee," he added.
Chattopadhyay, the agriculture minister, alleged that several irregularities happened in educational institutes during the CPI(M)'s rule but those were never investigated.
A person was appointed registrar of a university during the Left Front government, even though he did not have 50 per cent marks in graduation and post-graduation, he alleged, claiming that undeserving candidates were also appointed professors in various state-run varsities.
But these things were overlooked, the minister said.
CPI(M) MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said the court has already dismissed the allegations being made by Chattopadhyay.
"Now, people will punish them for their sins. They have lost ground among the people, so they are making such statements," he told PTI.
Reacting to Chattopadhyay's comment about the chief minister, the BJP said that TMC leaders were making such statements in desperation.
"TMC will bite the dust in both panchayat and Lok Sabha elections if the polling is free and fair," BJP leader Rahul Sinha said.