The Bharatiya Janata Party is planning to get Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra expelled from the Lok Sabha, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed on Thursday, reported The Hindu.

Banerjee, however, said that if the BJP were to do so, it would only make the Krishnanagar MP more popular.

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, reportedly her estranged partner, have accused Moitra of taking bribes from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to ask questions in Parliament.

“The questions were also often focused on the Adani Group, another business conglomerate, Hiranandani Group, was bidding for business against,” the BJP MP claimed.

The Lok Sabha ethics panel, which investigated the allegations, recommended Moitra’s expulsion from Parliament, alleging that her actions were “highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal”. The panel adopted its draft report on November 8, with six panel members supporting it and four submitting dissent notes.

Moitra had clarified in an interview in October that she gave Hiranandani access to her online Lok Sabha account but denied taking any bribes from him. She had claimed that MPs do not type their own questions and that the queries can only be submitted upon entering a one-time password, which is delivered to the phone number of the legislators.

On Thursday, Banerjee spoke in support of Moitra for the first time since the controversy broke out while addressing a gathering of Trinamool Congress leaders in Kolkata.

“Their [BJP] plan is to expel Mahua [Moitra],” Banerjee said. “This will only make her more popular. For three months she will say what she was saying inside the Parliament to the media outside. How does it matter? Only those who are stupid can make such an attempt.”

Amid the controversy in Delhi, the Trinamool Congress appointed Moitra as party’s president of Krishnanagar in West Bengal’s Nadia district ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year. Moitra has been the MP from the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha constituency since 2019.

On November 8, anti-corruption body Lokpal had also ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry against Moitra on the basis of Dubey’s complaint. Dubey had filed the complaint against Moitra with the Lokpal on October 21, alleging that she engaged in “rampant corruption” and misused her public office.