Fresh out of a hard-fought election in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress on Tuesday read the riot act to its MPs, warning them against deviating from the party line.
At a meeting of its MPs, parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said that a senior MP had been making anti-party comments and the party had taken strong exception to such statements.
Neither Bandyopadhyay nor others present at the meeting, such as Mukul Roy and Abhishek Banerjee, named anyone. But the absence of Lok Sabha MP and former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi left little doubt about the person being warned.
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In the midst of Bengal elections, Trivedi had said that had he been the leader of the party, he would have asked those stung by the Narada tapes to sit at home till their innocence was proven and sought an explanation from them. Although he gave glowing certificates of honesty to Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and the party cadre, the statement clearly irked the TMC leadership.
All party MPs present in Delhi were told to come for Tuesday’s meeting, but sources said Trivedi had not been informed. Trivedi did not respond to calls and text messages.
“Without taking names, MPs were told that a senior legislator had been making critical comments on the party, sometimes in the media, sometimes in the central hall of Parliament, that have not gone down well with the leadership. Bandyopadhyay said he would censure the MP, but all MPs should know that indiscipline will not be tolerated,” said an MP who was present at the meeting.
This is not the first time Trivedi has deviated from the party line. When his party was at loggerheads with the BJP in the wake of the Saradha chit fund scam, he had praised the functioning of PM Narendra Modi, leaving many in the Trinamool red-faced.
Reassuring MPs about the outcome of the Assembly polls, Mukul Roy reportedly told them that there should be no confusion about the Trinamool forming the government for the second time. He conceded that statements like the ones by the MP in question affected the credibility of the party and could harm it electorally, sources said.
At the meeting it was also reiterated that the Trinamool was not close to either the BJP or the Congress. “Banerjee said that the speeches of Sukhendu Sekhar Roy in the Rajya Sabha and Saugata Roy in the Lok Sabha on the AgustaWestland deal, accusing both the parties of a cover-up, illustrate the party line. The party is against corruption, regardless of the perpetrator,” said an MP.