Sidelined Trinamool Congress MP and its former national general secretary Mukul Roy was today prevented from entering Nandigram by party workers as he sought to lead a separate march.

Roy did not participate in the annual martyrs rally organised by TMC-backed Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) at Bangabera and led a separate march to Nandigram much to the discomfiture of the party leadership.

His unescorted convoy was, however, stopped on Tekhali bridge when he tried to cross over to Nandigram along with TMC MLA Seuli Saha and some of his followers.

TMC workers present there shouted slogans in support of party MP Subhendhu Adhikari, regarded as the face of the anti-farmland acquisition agitation by peasants in Nandigram, and jostled with Roy’s followers who were outnumbered.

As TMC workers carrying black flags shouted slogans of ‘Mukul Roy go back’, he alighted from his car and went on foot to Sherkhan Chowk at the border of Nandigram in East Midnapur district.

Roy made a couple of more attempts to enter Nandigram but was similarly obstructed.

Trinamool Congress observes martyrs’ day every year at Nandigram on March 14 to condemn the killing of 14 persons in the 2007 police firing as they opposed forcible land acquisition.

The rally at Bangabera today was attended by several party leaders including Adhikari and ministers Partha Chatterjee and Firhad Hakim.

Chatterjee, who is TMC secretary-general and state Education Minister took a dig at Roy’s attempts to march to Nandigram and questioned why he did not go to Bangabera where the BPUC had organised the ‘Sahid Divas’ programme.

"I do not know why he did not come to Bangabera. When thousands of party workers could attend the party programme why he did not? … He (Roy) is still a member of the party.

He has not yet left the party.

"Did he (Roy) inform the police (about his coming)? We do not know why he came and went back. This is the party programme (at Bangabera). If he tells the party (regarding the obstruction caused to him), the party will take steps", Chatterjee told reporters.