‘Didi surrounded by people with vested interests’

Sources said Sovandeb may be removed from the post of Trinamool chief whip in Assembly

Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, Trinamool Congress chief whip in the Assembly, today fired a fresh salvo at party leaders, saying that "persons with vested interests have surrounded Mamata Banerjee".

Chattopadhyay had upped the ante against the Trinamool leadership for not condemning a recent attack on him by party cadres at Calcutta University.

After keeping silent for a few days on the party's instructions, Chattopadhyay today vented his ire against certain leaders who defected from the Congress as well as Naxalite outfits to the Trinamool and were awarded ministerial berths. However, the veteran MLA reiterated that he would stay in the Trinamool till he gets honour.

Speaking at an INTTUC rally here today, Sovandeb said, "When Mamata went to Junglemahal to protest against torture on women, I was with her. When she was at Nandigram I was with her. I am still with her and I will be with her till I get honour. The party will decide if it does not want me. I am not above the party."

He took a dig at a section of senior leaders who defected to the Trinamool from other parties, and charged them with running a syndicate raj.

"Our chief minister is intelligent. There is a circle of persons with vested interests surrounding her. She has realised it, for which she is warning against syndicate raj and promoter raj and collection of cut money," he said.

However, the senior MLA added that he had full faith in Mamata. "She is the only one in the state who can materialise the hopes and aspirations of the people. She is fighting against the CPM alone, and even the Congress does not have the strength to fight the CPM."

Chattopadhyay's remarks did not go down well with the Trinamool leadership, with sources saying that he might face strong action for not toeing the party line. Though no senior leaders spoke officially against him, the sources said Chattopadhyay may be removed from the post of Assembly chief whip.

Asked about Chattopadhyay's comments, industry minister Partha Chatterjee said: "I do not know what he said. I do not want to comment."

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