ĎHave Didiís mandate for what Iím doing, keeping her informedí

Arabul Islam

TMC strongman Arabul is blamed for the latest bout of political violence in Bengal

The ruling Trinamool Congress may be facing widespread criticism over criminalisation of politics and blatant "goondaism" ó as described by none other than the Governor ó but the party strongman held responsible for the latest spate of violence in West Bengal is not exactly worried.

"I have Didi's mandate for whatever I am doing," Arabul Islam told The Sunday Express, referring to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Arabul, who got himself admitted to a private nursing home for "strategic" reasons after being booked for several non-bailable criminal cases, said: "In the last party workers meeting Didi's advice to me was to work with a cool head and keep her informed."

There is a reason Arabul felt "vindicated". After the latest violence in his home turf Bhangar, about 25 km from here, Mamata sent him bouquets by way of despatching as many as half a dozen top state cabinet ministers ó all of whom praised his "fight".

"For every minor incident, Didi calls me up and asks what is happening. From January, the CPM cadres are mounting attacks on us. Our men only retaliated to their aggression," he said.

"At the beginning of new year, I went to Didi's house to explain the ground situation in Bhangar because other party factions were trying to feed misinformation about me to Didi. I got a clean chit from Didi," he said, adding that at the last meeting of party workers of south 24 Paragana recently, he was given a "free hand to work with a cool head".

"Didi is unwell, but she has assured me the party is by my side. Moreover, cabinet ministers including Firhad Hakim and Arup Biswas and general secretary Mukul Roy came to see me as Didi directed them to do so," said Arabul.

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