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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

Didi cracks whip on erring leaders

Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, June 10, 2013
First Published: 12:35 IST(10/6/2013) | Last Updated: 13:49 IST(10/6/2013)

Upset over the recent spiral in violence allegedly involving some party leaders, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has asked top functionaries to pick out and isolate rowdy elements in the party’s rank and file. The move is primarily aimed at enforcing discipline in the ranks and ensuring a spotless image of the party before the panchayat and Lok Sabha polls.

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The chief minister has also issued a notice to the police top brass to go after those accused of such violence, irrespective of their political loyalties.

In the latest incident of violence, alleged Trinamool supporters mounted a vicious assault on two journalists sent to cover an inner party clash in Barrackpore. One of the scribes was doused with petrol in an apparent bid to set him on fire. Again, an alleged Trinamool supporter has been named accused in the rape and murder of a Barasat girl late Friday night. Minister Jyotipriya Mullick, along with party MP Haji Nurul Islam, ran into angry protesters while on a visit to the area on Saturday.

“Our party chief is upset over the recent incidents of violence across the state. She feels a few bad apples are bringing a bad name to our party. Senior leaders have been asked to pick out and isolate such rogue elements in the party. They have been told to keep such elements out of our party,” a Trinamool Lok Sabha MP close to the chief minister told HT.

The chief minister has asked MP Mukul Roy and minister Partha Chatterjee to inquire into the recent incidents of violence and find out if any party men are involved. They have also been tasked with scouring the rank and file for rogue elements if any.

“Our party chief believes that such elements, if allowed a free run, could dent the image of our party before the panchayat and Lok Sabha polls. She has called on all leaders to adopt a zero-tolerance policy against these elements and enforce discipline. She has warned of strict action against leaders caught hobnobbing with such elements,” said a senior Trinamool leader and a state minister.

The crackdown is also aimed at keeping the opposition forces from stepping up heat on the ruling party over the prevailing law and order scene and exploiting such incidents for political advantage in election season.

Top party functionaries, said sources, are aware that leading opposition forces, including the Left Front, Congress and BJP, could foment unrest across the state in the days before the rural polls and has cautioned all district party presidents to tread with caution and keep away from trouble.


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