A day after state transport minister and dissident Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Suvendu Adhikari lashed out at his own party at “Nandigram Dibas” rallies, questioning its alleged absence in the region since the anti-land acquisition movement there propelled it to power almost a decade ago, the state government withdrew the security provided to three of his close aides.
Two of those leaders are Abu Taher and Meghnad Pal from Nandigam in Purba Medinipur district, while the third is Murshidabad “Zilla Sabhadhipati” Mosharaf Hossain.
Taher and Pal were behind the “Nandigram Dibas” rallies that Adhikari addressed in Nandigram on Tuesday under the banner of the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee. The land movement over a decade ago was organised under the committee’s banner. Hossain had also organised a general meeting in Murshidabad recently.
The state administration denied the rift between the party and Adhikari had anything to do with its decision to withdraw the security of the three leaders. The government claimed that the security of different leaders is reviewed periodically, and its decision was part of a routine process.
“It is a routine process. We review the situation and accordingly the security is either beefed up or reduced. In these cases also the process was the same,” said a senior government official.
A senior TMC leader, however, agreed that the decision was meant to serve as a message to those aligning themselves with the dissident leader. “Similar incidents happened in the past also. When Mukul Roy became a rebel, his security was also reduced from Z category to Y category. So, this can be treated as a clear signal for those party leaders,” said the party leader, who wished to remain anonymous.
At Tuesday’s rallies, Adhikari, once a trusted lieutenant of Mamata Banerjee, took several digs at his party and did not mention the Chief Minister’s name. He accused the TMC of remembering the people of Nandigram, and those who led the agitation, only before the Assembly elections. The minister played a key role in the Nandigram movement, which catapulted TMC to power in 2011.
At another rally, Adhikari said he had climbed up in his political career with neither a helicopter nor in an elevator.
His remarks were criticised by his party and Cabinet colleague Firhad Hakim, who addressed a separate rally in Nandigram on Tuesday. “Nobody has used the elevator to move up. We have climbed up step by step, but those steps have been built by Mamata Banerjee… Those who are opposing Mamata Banerjee are strengthening the BJP,” he said.
Meanwhile, PTI reported that Adhikari skipped a Cabinet meetingchaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat on Wednesday.
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