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Followers of Sovondeb Chattopadhyay, Trinamool Congress chief whip in the Assembly, defied party instructions and took out a rally at Calcutta University today to protest against the assault on the veteran leader by activists of a rival faction.
The move triggered angry responses from the party leadership. "No one is above the party. Discipline is most important in the party. The status of a leader is immaterial," Partha Chatterjee, Trinamool core committee member and state industry minister, said in a veiled reference to the rally.
Trinamool activists close to Chattopadhyay, however, refused to budge from their demand that the party must condemn the incident.
After the incident, which exposed infighting within the party, top Trinamool leaders had asked Chattopadhyay not to take out any rally on the issue. But today's rally clearly indicates that the party's instruction was flouted.
Chattopadhyay refused to comment on Partha's remarks. "I was invited to a rally at Calcutta University but I did not attend it. There were clear instructions that no banner will be used in the rally," he said.
Last Tuesday, Chattopadhyay was assaulted by a section of Trinamool supporters belonging to a rival faction at Calcutta University.