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Revolt spreads in Trinamool; leaders allege graft, attack Mamata

Revolt spreads in Trinamool; leaders allege graft, attack Mamata

Kolkata: Trinamool Congress Wednesday faced a series of revolts, with a legislator protesting in the assembly premises against graft and another being sacked from the parliamentary secretary's post for his closeness to general secretary Mukul Roy.

Trinamool leader Shilbhadra Dutta was stripped of his parliamentary secretary post for his perceived closeness to Mukul Roy, who seems to have fallen out of favour with party supremo Mamata Banerjee.

Another key district leader went hammer and tongs against Banerjee, claiming that her widening rift with Roy would eventually trigger the government's downfall.

In the morning, Swapan Kanti Ghosh, Trinamool legislator from Suri in Birbhum district, staged a sit-in at the gate of the assembly, holding a placard demanding water for his constituency and a roof for slum dwellers while alleging corruption in the local municipality.

Alleging that the Suri municipality siphoned off Rs.10.36 crore meant for central schemes, Ghosh said his repeated letters to Banerjee and Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim on the issue failed to evoke any response.

"I have written five times to Hakim, I also wrote to the chief minister. But none of them responded. For the last two-and-a-half years I have been raising the issue but in vain," said Ghosh, adding that he would meet union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu next week over the issue.

"If I don't get any response from him (Naidu), then I will move the Calcutta High Court seeking redressal," he said while also alleging that he and his driver were manhandled by assembly marshals on the orders of the assembly speaker.

The Trinamool leadership promptly suspended Ghosh.

"The party's disciplinary committee has unanimously decided to suspend Ghosh forthwith pending an inquiry. Despite being repeatedly cautioned, he acted at the behest of other political parties and made allegations against his own party," Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.

Chatterjee, who heads the Trinamool disciplinary panel, said there were allegations against Ghosh which the party will probe.

Ghosh reacted saying that he hoped to be expelled from the party.

The party suffered more shockwaves in the evening when Trinamool leader from Murshidabad district and former state minister Humayun Kabir said Banerjee's dream of passing the mantle to her nephew would not succeed.

Kabir publicly showed his allegiance to Roy, who has been sidelined in the party in recent weeks after he seemingly fell out with Banerjee following his interrogation by the CBI in connection with the multi-crore rupee Saradha ponzi scam.

"It's Roy who has been running the Trinamool, but now Banerjee is aspiring to make her nephew (Abhishek Banerjee) the king. But the people will not fulfill her aspiration."

"I've doubts if she (Banerjee) will be able to continue as the chief minister. Right now she has 191 members, if 50 of them leave then her government will be reduced to a minority and she will have to resign," said Kabir.

Kabir had switched over to the Trinamool a year after winning the 2011 assembly polls on a Congress ticket.

Meanwhile, as lawmaker Shilbhadra Dutta, known for his proximity to Roy, was stripped off his post of parliamentary secretary, a senior minister said Dutta was removed on Banerjee's orders.

Dutta, now in Delhi along with Roy, was virtually dismissive of the party action.

Though he claimed not to have received any official communication, Dutta said it was the prerogative of the chief minister to decide on her ministry and parliamentary secretaryship.

Dutta claimed he had come to Delhi to consult a doctor, but was candid in declaring his "closeness to" and "soft corner" for Roy.

Five days ago, the deteriorating relations between Banerjee and Mukul Roy, her one-time second in command, sunk to new lows with his son lashing out against the leadership, which immediately retaliated by threatening strong disciplinary action against Roy junior.

However, the Trinamool was yet to crack the whip on Roy's son Subhrangshu.

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