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HindustanTimes Tue,29 Jul 2014

Veteran leaders sad at TMC’s stand on accused strongman

Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, January 08, 2013
First Published: 17:17 IST(8/1/2013) | Last Updated: 17:17 IST(8/1/2013)

Veteran Trinamool Congress leaders termed the beating up of former minister Rezzak Mollah unfortunate and decried the violence, just stopping short of criticising their own party that threw its weight behind Arabul Islam and his co-assaulters just a day ago.

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Hours after the assault on the CPI(M) MLA on Sunday, Trinamool Congress held a press conference and accused Mollah of instigating violence and then conducting a ‘drama’ lying on a hospital bed. “What can I say? I cannot criticise my own party. But I would say that the incident is unfortunate. Violence in politics should be shunned,” said Saugata Roy, Trinamool Congress MP.

“My party has already taken a stand on the issue and held a press conference. Had I held a press conference before it, I could have said something. Now it is not possible to contradict my party,” said Sobhondeb Chattopadhyay veteran Trinamool leader and MLA.

“However the incident is unfortunate. There are different elements in the party all of whom cannot be controlled at times. Rezzak Saheb is a senior politician and he should have talked to the police and have proper security before entering the area,” he said.

Saugata Roy was critical of Arabul Islam earlier when he rapped party leaders indulging in rowdyism in college campuses in October last year. Without naming the Bhangar strongman, former professor of physics, Roy, expressed reservations over ‘a class VIII passout’ being nominated as president of a college governing body.

Chief whip of Trinamool in the assembly, Chattopadhyay, too, was critical of the party leadership after a new supporter of the party heckled him. Many other senior leaders, who refrained from making comments to media, criticised the party’s stand on the issue as well as defending Arabul Islam, who is not involved in controversies for the first time.

Many also expressed their unhappiness regarding the manner in which Firhad Hakim, party leader and urban development minister made comments against a veteran MLA. “This is not what Mamata Banerjee stands for. Elements like Arabul Islam should immediately be expelled from the party. Instead, he is being defended. This would give a wrong signal that goons are our assets. Depending on him before the panchyayat polls would be wrong,” said a senior Lok Sabha MP. Interestingly, party leaders believe that senior leaders like Mukul Roy, Partha Chatterjee and Subrata Mukherjee should have faced the media.

“It was Rezzak Mollah who with outsiders barged into our meeting in Kantatala. He disturbed the meeting and made obscene remarks against our party leaders. He instigated the crowd who just pushed and shoved him. Then he conducted an elaborate drama resting in a luxurious room in a private hospital,” said Firhad Hakim, party leader and urban development minister in a press conference at the party headquarters in Trinamool Bhavn on Sunday.

Hakim defended Arabul and his men, said, Our party workers follow the ideals of Mamata Banerjee. We fight politically. There were 2000 to 3000 people there. If the people attacked Mollah he would not even have reached the hospital.”

Trinamool Congress insiders stated that Islam is not new to controversies, but the party never took action against him. The former MLA was accused of using his former official note pad. He was also accused of throwing a jug at teacher Debjani De during a college management committee meeting, of which he is the president, in April last year.


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