With the Assembly elections just months away and amid the defections, the political scene in north Bengal had heated up, with rumblings seen mostly in the Trinamul Congress camp.
Gulam Sarban and Gulam Hyder, the two brothers of minister of state for labour department and Trinamul Congress MLA of Goalpokhar in North Dinajpur, Gulam Rabbani, have defected from the TMC to the BJP, allegedly with around 4000 followers. State observer of the BJP, Arvind Menon, handed over the BJP flag to the duo amid a function held at the Islampur bus terminus yesterday afternoon.
On the other hand, a section of TMC activists displayed several posters of TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari, stating that they were his followers, at Goalpara in Ward 26 under the Raiganj Municipality.
“Protesting against cutmoney, both Gulam Sarban and Gulam Hyder, brothers of Mr Gulam Rabbani, have joined the BJP. Several thousand other TMC members, including some of their leaders, will join the BJP in the next around one month in North Dinajpur district,” Mr Menon said.
The President of the North Dinajpur TMC committee, Kanaiyalal Agarwal, however, said, Mr Sarban and Mr Hyder were known as Congress members and that the TMC had no connection with them.
The present political rumblings have not spared South Dinajpur, as several disgruntled leaders of the TMC have come up in public soon after Suvendu Adhikari’s resignation from the Cabinet, while the number of banners in towns and different parts of the district has gone up. Also, a good number of TMC leaders have started giving public statements in favour of Mr Adhikari. “Not only me, but a good number of leaders who were sidelined by the state and district leaders will follow Suvendu Adhikari in the future,” Debashis Majumder, a follower of the former district TMC president, Arpita Ghosh, said. Mr Majumder has been the executive president of the party for almost a year.
Following removal of Mrs Ghosh from the post of the district president by the TMC, new president Gautam Das first issued a show-cause letter to Mr Majumder, and two other leaders, Shubhashis Pal and Sunirmal Jyoti Biswas, for alleged anti-party activities and finally sacked them from the party. “He, along with other leaders, will follow Suvendu Adhikari in the future,” he said.
On the other hand, after the return of Bipllab Mitra to the TMC fold from the BJPO, former MLA Satyan Roy has openly revolted against the district party leaders. Tapan MLA Bachhu Hansda has also remained inactive for the past few months. “The party has failed to utilise us. We are being sidelined. Those who have openly raised their voice against the party have become the district leader and most of us did not find space in the district committee,” Mr Satyan Roy said.
District president of the TMC Gowtam Das said, “There is only one party here and that is TMC, and there is only one leader–Mamata Banerjee. There are so many able leaders in the TMC, and Suvendu’s departure will not affect the TMC.”
In Alipurduar, rebel TMC leaders Ashis Dutta and Bappa Mazumder have said they would not take part in the party’s district committee meeting scheduled to be held at Rabindra Bhaban in Alipurduar town tomorrow.
TMC sources further said that some other district leaders may also not attend the meeting. Tomorrow’s meeting is set to be the first one to be held after the new district committee of the TMC was formed recently.
Notably, the former chairman of the Alipurduar Municipality, Mr Dutta has announced that he was leaving the party.
“Minister Gautam Deb telephoned me and requested me not to leave the party, but I am firm on my stand. I am waiting for what Suvendu Adhikary does further. I will walk with him,” Mr Dutta said today. “I will not attend the district committee meeting scheduled to be held tomorrow,” he added.
Sources said that Alipurduar TMC president Mridul Goswami was supposed to meet Mr Dutta today, but the meeting did not take place. “I was in our party meeting at Madarihat today. I could not meet Mr Dutta today. I will meet him later,” Mr Goswami said.
(With inputs from Raiganj, Balurghat,Alipurduar)