statesman news service
KOLKATA, 14 DEC: A day after the announcement that state Congress MPs and MLAs would voice the demand for a CBI probe in the Saradha scam in the Capital and Kolkata, the new plan of action was described to be "belated" by none other than former PCC chief Dr Manas Bhuniya. Moreover, he felt that the spate of defections from Congress-run municipalities as well as Congress Legislative Party (CLP) could have been stopped had the PCC maintained a closer interaction with the rank and file as well as the district leadership. 
There had not been any significant agitational programmes in the past two-and-a-half years of the present dispensation, according to Dr Bhunia, a former Cabinet minister in the state government when his party was in an alliance with the Trinamul Congress. If the state Congress leadership was reluctant to ask the activists to hit the streets as it was a partner in the government, there was no reason for being shy of a statewide programme after the Trinamul walked out of the UPA II government.
It was this inertia which emboldened the Trinamul leadership to poach Congress legislators, Dr Bhuniya said. “Perhaps such programmes may not have been as widespread as Muktir Padyatra which ended at Shahid Minar yesterday, but our agitational programmes would have kept the Trinamul on its toes and discouraged our political opponents not to strengthen its ranks at our expense”, he said.
“Such programmes would also have convinced the party rank and file and a section of leadership which later defected to Trinamul that Congress was still a force to reckon with. Of course, these would not have had much effect on those who responded to Trinamul’s allurements,” he added.
Dr Bhuniya also said the intimidation process, the other part of the game plan to thin Congress ranks would have been less effective. So far, three members of the CLP, namely Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury of Englishbazar, Humayun Kabir of Rejinagar and Ajay De of Santipur had left Congress to join Trinamul.
The PCC’s efforts have not been up to the mark in publicising the Union government’s development projects and the failure of the Trinamul state government in implementing them, Dr Bhuniya said. If the PCC can pull up its socks even now, the erosion in support base and the defection of activists and leaders can be checked, he felt.