With the existing divide in Trinamool Congress over the cause of death of its senior leader and former deputy mayor of KMC, Farzana Alam, notwithstanding, her family members have now come out in open revolt, refusing her newly-elected replacement, Iqbal Ahmed’s wish to bring her body to the civic body to “pay homage”.
“Our Pir has asked us not to parade her body around the city. And besides, we do not want the TMC people, who deserted her, to pay homage to her now. The party did great injustice to her,” Farzana’s brother Khurshid Alam, who was at Peace Heaven morgue in Kolkata, said on Wednesday.
Khurshid then directed his anger at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, accusing her of “using Farzana to gain Muslim votes” and then deserting her to face a defeat which he alleged was a “sabotage”. Farzana had successfully contested the 2010 KMC polls from Ward 28 but was chosen as a candidate for Ward 65 — a Left stronghold — in the civic polls held last month. Farzana lost to RSP candidate Nivedita Sharma by nearly 8,000 votes.
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“She had worked in her ward (28) and gained popularity. Then she was made the deputy mayor only to attract minority votes. This time (in the civic polls) she was pitched from Ward 65,” Khurshid said, indicating that it was done in order to make her lose the election.
Khurshid added that he would often tell her about his “doubts on TMC and Mamata” whom, he said, “Farzana had complete faith in”. “But she would not listen to me. When the party announced the name of the prospective mayor but did not do so for deputy mayor, I had told her that it was the sign of something not being right. Even after Mamata rudely told her after the elections loss that ‘you have lost so we will talk later’, she kept her hopes that the party would not forget her. When she was attacked by her own party members, no one came to visit her at the hospital. On top of that, a senior leader said that she was pretending to be sick. Even after her death, Mamata did not care to visit her or send a condolence message,” the brother said.
Party MLA Iqbal Ahmed, who was the only leader to visit the morgue on Wednesday, however defended his party against the allegations. “No one is bigger than the party. Farzana had rose to fame because of the party,” he said.
The former deputy mayor’s body was taken to one of her relative’s at Shakespeare Sarani where the last rites were observed and from there to the graveyard at Bagmari. Among the TMC leaders present were Councillor of Ward 1, Sita Jaiswal; deputy mayor of Howrah Municipal Corporation, Minati Adhikary; and CITU state president Shyamal Chakraborty.
Shortly before the body was taken to Bagmari, the family offered prayers at a mosque in Rajabazar, in presence of senior TMC leaders Javed Khan, Firhad Hakim and Smita Bakshi. They, however, refused to comment.
Furfura Sharif Pirzada Taha Siddiqui repeated Khurshid’s claim. “Mamata used Farzana for minority votes. When purpose was met, she was abandoned.”