Opportunists surround Mamata: TMC whip

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

Chattopadhyay had upped the ante against the TMC leadership for not condemning a recent attack on him by party cadres at the Calcutta University. After keeping silent for a few days on the party's instructions, Chattopadhyay on Sunday vented his ire against certain leaders who defected from the Congress and Naxal outfits to the TMC, and were awarded with ministerial berths. However, he reiterated that he would stay with the party.

Speaking at an INTTUC rally here on Sunday, he 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 due respect. The party will decide if it wants me or not. I am not above the party."

He took a dig at a section of senior leaders who defected to the TMC from other parties, and charged them with running a syndicate raj. "Our CM is intelligent. There is a circle of persons with vested interests surrounding her. She has realised it; she is warning against syndicate raj and promoter raj and collection of cut money," he added.

However, the senior MLA said 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 TMC leadership. Though no senior leader spoke against him officially, sources said that Chattopadhyay may be removed from the post of Assembly chief chip. 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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