A bitter factional fight has broken out in the Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) Hooghly unit. The party’s Singur MLA, Rabindranath Bhattacharya, on Friday lashed out at a close aide of Haripur MLA Becharam Manna after his appointment as the party’s block president in Singur.
The senior TMC leader slammed Nasibpur panchayat chief Govinda Dhara, who was given his appointment letter by district Trinamool president Dilip Yadav on Wednesday.
Bhattacharya has accused Dhara of corruption. He told reporters on Friday, “Everyone knows Govinda Dhara is corrupt. He has bought land worth millions of rupees in the name of his wife, son and daughter-in-law. We have the evidence. We can’t accept him as block president.”
The MLA had made similar allegations in November after his associate Mahadev Das was removed as block president and Dhara’s name was announced. At the time, he threatened to quit the party. But, on Friday, Bhattacharya said, “I will not leave the team. I will protest from the team. I will fight against injustice. I believe the leader [Mamata Banerjee] will listen to me.”
Several members of different panchayats and Singur panchayat samiti have come out in Bhattacharya’s support, including panchayat samiti president Pratima Das and the leaders of four panchayats.
Dismissing the allegations as “baseless”, Dhara said, “I will do what the team has given me to do. I will work to help the party candidate win in the Assembly elections. However, people will not vote if Rabindranath babu is nominated.”
Internal fights and dissent in the TMC had boiled over into the public domain in recent months, with a number of high-profile desertions. Cooch Behar (South) MLA Mihir Goswami switched over to the BJP last month, while former transport minister Suvendu Adhikari followed suit last week. In Howrah district, state forest minister Rajib Banerjee has criticised the party leadership.
Meanwhile, the TMC said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would visit Nandigram, where an anti-land acquisition movement in 2007 propelled her to power four years later, on January 7. Adhikari has repeatedly accused Banerjee and the TMC leadership of ignoring the people of Nandigram after their rise to power. Referring to his former leader, Adhikari, who will address a rally there the following day, said, “I will answer every question that the ‘Mananiya’ raises.”
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