Kolkata, Mar 15 (PTI) West Bengal education minister Bratya Basu on Wednesday asserted that he is "accountable" to all eligible and qualified youth when it comes to providing job opportunities, and no discrimination will be made on the ground of political affiliation.
Basu, talking to news channel, also stressed that he was the minister of Bengal, not of any party, and only those who have cleared eligibility tests will be given jobs.
The ruling TMC government had been facing the heat over various school recruitment-related scams detected by the central agencies, with many party leaders and ministers arrested for their alleged involvement in the irregularities.
"My job will be to facilitate job opportunities for every eligible and educated youth. I am not the education minister for supporters of a particular political party, I am the minister for every resident of the state," he stated.
Asked about a video doing the rounds in which he was purportedly seen asking activists of the TMC to give jobs to qualified partymen, the minister said that just a "portion of the entire conversation at a meeting, after the 2021 polls, was being circulated by people with vested interests".
PTI did not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
"The meeting was held after the TMC's landslide win in 2021 assembly polls. I had merely indicated that I, as a senior leader, was entitled to recommend two-three qualified persons for jobs in my department after the requisite test and interviews. Such things were in practice in the past, too," the Dumdum MLA explained.
Basu contended that he has always believed in upholding probity and integrity of his post.
To a question on scams involving School Service Commission appointments and Teacher Eligibility Test under former minister Partha Chatterjee, who is currently in jail, Basu said, "Investigations are underway... We will not stand by anyone who has done something wrong." Chatterjee was removed as the cabinet minister and suspended from the TMC, shortly after his arrest in connection with the SSC scam.
Countering Basu, senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha told PTI that the minister had "brazenly” declared at a meeting that he will give jobs to TMC functionaries and he cannot "deflect attention from that statement".
"Bratya Basu is no different from other corrupt leaders of TMC. He is also involved in illegal appointments and won’t escape law," Sinha said. PTI SUS RMS RMS