TAMLUK, 12 JUNE: With the infighting inside the Trinamul Congress extending down to the lower rank leadership over the distribution of party tickets for the three-tier panchayat polls, a thousand-odd Trinamul Congress workers and leaders have quit the party at Kolaghat in East Midnapore.
Several dozen outgoing Trinamul Congress panchayat pradhan, panchayat samity sabhapati and panchayat members will contest as Independent candidates against the ruling party.
This will not only help the Opposition party, but also make the ruling party candidates’ fate uncertain in the polls.
Mr Ujjal Bhattacherjee, a Trinamul Congress leader in Kolaghat block who has led the rebel party workers’ movement said: “We have established the party in the block since the birth of the Trinamul Congress. We have made the party strong here by fighting against the CPI-M and many of us are now still facing different cases lodged by the CPI-M. Today, when we talked about the party tickets, the present leadership in the district have deliberately ignored us
and fielded their followers as candidates. This act was completely unacceptable to us and so we have decided to quit the party”.
Dogged by severe infighting, the Trinamul Congress state leadership had decided to allot party tickets to panchayat poll aspirants through the party legislators.
The effort was to pacify the burning discontent within the party, but the rebel party workers alleged that the local MLA, Mr Biplab Roy Chowdhury, in association with the party MP, Mr Subhendu Adhikary, unilaterally distributed tickets to their followers and deliberately ignored the block leadership&’s choices in the matter.
Mr Bhattacherjee said: “Mr Mukul Roy has asked me to collect the tickets and accordingly I went to Kolkata a day before the last date of withdrawal of nominations. But I was then advised to go to Mr Ardhendu Maity, a party leader in Contai to collect the tickets. When I went to Mr Maity, he told me that all the tickets were already sent to Mr Roy Chowdhury and tickets would be given on the day of withdrawal of nomination. The next day, we waited till the last hour, but no leaders received our phone calls. As a result, all the aspirant candidates who filed their nominations became Independent candidates”.
“Hundreds of party workers who were involved in the poll-process and have been with the party since the beginning were grossly humiliated and they have decided to quit the party”, Mr Bhattacherjee said, adding that the party is now favouring those who had never been with the party and many of them have records of indulging in cheating and collecting money from traders and industrialists.
When asked, Mr Mahmud Hossain, saha-sabhadhipati of zilla-parishad said, “The party has no connection with Mr Bhattacherjee and the party has already suspended him for his anti-party activities.”