• Stay with me if you have the courage: Didi at party meet
    Times of India, 05 December 2020
  • Kolkata: Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday directed East Midnapore district president Sisir Adhikari to start taking disciplinary steps against those who were involved in “anti-party” activities. She was addressing an organizational meeting held with party district heads and MPs.

    Sisir was not physically present at the meeting held in Kolkata. According to sources, he took part virtually from his Kanthi home.

    Banerjee proposed changes in party block presidents in Nandigram, Kanthi and Haldia to begin with, and asked to identify others with a similar record, barely a month after Trinamool announced an elaborate “consensus” panel on November 5. The party chief didn’t name Suvendu Adhikari but her directive came days after the rebel leader’s message to Trinamool senior Saugata Roy saying it was getting difficult to work together in the party.

    “BJP starts engaging agencies ahead of elections. Those who have the courage to stay with me should stay. Others who want to go with the looters (BJP) may leave,” Banerjee said, sending out the clear message that she wanted to begin afresh without the black sheep in Midnapore when she would hold a public rally there on December 7.

    Trinamool seniors have reasons to believe that Suvendu is in touch with two senior leaders of Bengal BJP since Tuesday night after the meeting at a north Kolkata apartment fell through.

    No comment was forthcoming from Sisir, who had till date left it to Trinamool brass to handle the rebellion in East Midnapore that had his son Suvendu as the rallying point. Now, the Trinamool district president, on Banerjee’s directives, has to crack the whip on party’s Nandigram I block president Meghnad Pal and Haldia Unnayan block vice-president Somnath Bhuiyan, who had been accompanying Suvendu to all his “party-less” programmes from Nandigram to Haldia.

    Some other district leaders such as Trinamool district coordinator and zilla parishad karmadhyaksha Anandamoy Adhikari, party district spokesperson Madhurima Mandal and district general secretary Kanishka Ponda too have come under the party’s scanner.

    Bengal BJP leaders have been frequenting Suvendu’s turf Nandigram and Khejuri and also Kanthi and Haldia to make use of the “confusion and the disbelief” among Trinamool ranks, who are waiting for the rebel leader to clarify his political stand before they take the plunge. BJP state vice-president Bharati Ghosh was in Nandigram’s Reyapara on Friday, a few days after she held a rally in Haldia, and state unit president Dilip Ghosh would be reaching out to Banerjee loyalist and Trinamool MLA Akhil Giri’s constituency Ramnagar on Saturday.

    Trinamool has already started the search for ‘Dada’ loyalists in West Midnapore. Zilla parishad karmadhyaksha and diehard Suvendu loyalist Amulya Maity lost his security cover on Thursday night, hours before the Trinamool chief held the organizational meeting in Kolkata.

    Maity was provided two security guards after an attempt was made on his life in 2015. “My two security guards were asked to report at the police station on Thursday evening. One of them called me at 10pm to say they have been asked to pack up,” Maity said.

    The Trinamool leader, having a close association with the Adhikari family, had lodged a police complaint against the attack on party workers who had escorted Suvendu to a Trinamool leader’s house in Sabang. Maity had also displayed Suvendu’s posters while distributing masks and sanitizers to people during the ongoing pandemic.

    Trinamool district leaders, however, refused to read much into the development. “It is police that examine the security issue and take decisions accordingly. The party has nothing to do with it,” a Trinamool leader said.

    (With inputs from Suman Mandal and Sujoy Khanra)
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