Arabul Islam may have fallen from grace in the eyes of Trinamool Congress bigwigs, but his followers at Bhangar have not forgotten. At a rally in the area on Monday, Mamata Banerjee was confronted by leagues of his supporters, shouting slogans, demanding that he be freed.
The party tried to distance itself from Arabul, now in custody for assaulting former CPI(M) minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah on January 6, by removing his name from party banners that announced the chief minister’s rally at Bhangar.
However, they failed to anticipate or quell local demands that insisted Arabul be reinstated. Mamata was entirely silent on the issue, neither mentioning Arabul’s name in her speech, nor responding to the demands at the meeting.
Instead, she focussed on her favourite topics, justifying her claims with ‘evidence’, announcing new sops and projects, criticising the CPI(M) and urging the people to support her during the panchayat polls.
The chief minister was speaking on the occasion of the foundation stone laying ceremony of a medical college in Bhangar. She rained sops on South 24 Parganas and promised she would visit the area again on February 18.
“Almost all of the government’s work is over. We have finished 99% of the work for minorities. I stand by this claim. A book has been written, Ek Jhalake and Ek Palake, where the evidences have been given. I say what I do. We are also publishing a book on work done for minority development.
We have already fulfilled all Sacchar Commission recommendations. If we haven’t done it, why should we hesitate to talk about it? We are proud to announce that while in 34 years the Left Front has set up one university, we set up five,” Mamata said.
Just after she finished her speech, a large number of workers at the public meeting raised slogans in favour of Arabul, who is block president of Bhangar I and a former MLA. They want Arabul back in their midst to lead them and many said that in the upcoming panchayat polls, they wanted Arabul to lead.