Mamata ‘snubs’ Sovan, puts him on hold for three days
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Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today refused to meet dissenting MLA Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, but spoke to him over phone and promised to have a detailed discussion with him following her Junglemahal tour.
Chattopadhyay, who was roughed up by a section of Trinamool supporters belonging to a rival group at Calcutta University on Tuesday, had demanded that the party "say a few words of condemnation" against the incident. But the party has not yet officially condemned the incident, which made Chattopadhyay's followers angry.
The veteran Trinamool leader, who has been associated with the party since its inception, went to the Chief Minister's Kalighat residence and waited there for nearly half an hour.
"But the Chief Minister did not meet him. Instead, she spoke to him over phone and told him she would give him a patient hearing once she returned from Bankura," a source said.
Two senior leaders — industry minister Partha Chatterjee and panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee — today summoned Chattopadhyay to the Assembly for a discussion. "Chattopadhyay told them that the incident had sent a wrong message to veteran leaders who are associated with the party since 1998. If no action is taken against those involved in the incident, the party will have to lose veteran leaders in the long run," said a Trinamool leader.
Asked why Chattopadhyay responded to the calls of the ministers, a Trinamool leader said Chattopadhyay wants the party by his side.
"If he ignores the call, the party might say he is arrogant. Following requests from the top leadership, Chattopadhyay called off the rally that his followers were planning yesterday in protest against the incident. So the party cannot call him disobedient," a leader close to Chattopadhyay said.
Today, the party's top leadership tried to pacify the veteran MLA who upped the ante against the party, threatening to resign from all his posts. Though none of them briefed the press, it was learnt that Chattopadhyay had told the two leaders that it was not just an assault on a veteran party MLA but also maligned the image of the Chief Minister and the government.
On Friday, Chattopadhyay was asked to come to the party headquarters at Tiljala. "After he left for Tiljala office in the evening, he was asked to return," a leader said.
Chattopadhyay denied comment. "I have been asked to keep mum and I will not say anything. But I stick to what I had said earlier," he said.
A leader close to him said: "The developments that took place inside the party following the incident is more humiliating for Chattopadhyay. Five days have passed since he was humiliated but not a single word on incident was issued by the party condemning the incident."
Kolkata: Security has been tightened in Purulia and Bankura ahead of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's three-day tour of these districts beginning Sunday.
Sources in the Chief Minister's Office said Mamata will leave Kolkata tomorrow for the Maoist-affected districts, accompanied by several bureaucrats including the chief secretary and home secretary. She will reach Bankura circuit house by road on Sunday night. On December 3, Mamata will hold an administrative meeting at Bankura. A public rally will follow the meeting. The following day, she will hold an administrative meeting in Purulia. A public rally will be held at Purulia after the meeting.
The Chief Minister has not included Lalgarh — a block in West Midnapore where Maoists unleashed a reign of terror during the last three years of Left rule — in her Junglemahal tour this time. Officials pointed out that she had already held a rally in Lalgarh in August this year.
Mamata will review the progress of schemes she had announced for the people of Junglemahal after coming to power.
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