Manna gets CM blessings to revive farmersí outfit


Controversial Trinamool Congress minister Becharam Manna, against whom the Calcutta High Court has issued a contempt notice for making alleged derogatory remarks against judiciary, has been assigned an important task by party leadership by giving him the responsibility of setting up an organisation of farmers and agricultural workers ahead of the crucial panchayat polls.

"The party has given me an important assignment. I will try to fulfill the expectation of the party," he said.

Earlier, senior party leaders like Purnendu Bose and Mukul Roy were given the charge of preparing the ground for setting up Trinamool Kishan O Kjetmojur Congress, the farmers' wing of the party. But they failed to set up the outfit as they could not devote enough time to it.

Manna has already got his planned chalked out. "On December 23, I will visit Malda to discuss the formation of farmers' wing with district leaders. On December 29 and 30, I will go to Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri. A 90-member state committee of the organisation has been formed. Now units down to the block levels will be constituted," he said.

The reason for selection of Manna for the task has been cited as his "farming background". "He comes from a farmer's family and he is also known for his role in Singur land agitation movement," a senior Trinamool leader told The Indian Express.

"Because of his close association with the Singur movement, Manna earned the popularity in the rural belts of West Bengal. This is why the party wants to use him in expanding base among the farmers," a top Trinamool leader said.

Within a fortnight of assuming charge as Minister of State for Agriculture), Manna raised a controversy when he said at a farmers' rally in Singur that the CPM and judges loyal to the Marxists and Tatas defeated Singur land reclamation law of the state government at Calcutta High Court. His remarks triggered strong criticism not only from the opposition but also from advocates' community. A case of defamation was lodged against him for which he was summoned to the Calcutta High Court on December 18.

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