Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders in touch with the Opposition were free to quit the party rather than weaken it from inside, and warned that “anti-party activities” would not be tolerated.
The TMC chairperson made the comments during an online meeting with the party’s top brass. They came a week after dissident leader Suvendu Adhikari quit the state Cabinet. Dialogue with him broke down earlier this week.
Banerjee said, “If anyone wants to go, I have no problem. Those who quit the party due to fear of [central] agencies, I personally dislike them.
But, I do not hate them. If you want to stay with me, then, you have to fight. Those who are quitting, they may pray for my death but they cannot wish more than that.”
Although Banerjee did not take any name, party sources said her jibe was aimed at Adhikari. TMC MLA Mihir Goswami joined the BJP last week.
“At a party meeting held during the day, Banerjee said that if one leader quits the party, she can create a lakh more such leaders,” a senior TMC leader said on the condition of anonymity.
Suvendu Adhikari’s father and TMC MP from Kanthi Sisir Adhikari was present at the meeting. “Party will not tolerate any anti-party activities. Party will take stern action,” said the TMC chairperson.
The chief minister asked Sisir Adhikari to rein in anti-party activities and sack “traitors” in the TMC district unit. “Sisir da said he will look into it,” said the TMC leader who did not wish to be named.
During the four-hour-long meeting, which began at 2 pm, Banerjee spoke about how the TMC was built from scratch in 1998 and the party’s initial days of struggle.
At the meeting, the chief minister unveiled a new outreach programme called “Bangodhwani [voice of Bengal]” as part of which TMC leaders and workers will reach out to people across the state to inform them about the development work undertaken by the TMC government since it came to power in 2011, sources said. The campaign will be conducted from December 11 to 24.
With PTI inputs
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