Sandeshkhali: CM Mamata Banerjee reminds TMC leaders about people’s power | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Sandeshkhali: CM Mamata Banerjee reminds TMC leaders about people’s power

ByHT Corresppondent
Feb 27, 2024 06:45 PM IST

Sandeshkhali has been on the edge over allegations of land grabbing, sexual assault and exploitation against local TMC leaders

Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday sent out a message to leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) saying that if they lose the support of the people, no one would care for them, a warning issued to her own party members in the backdrop of developments in Sandeshkhali, which has been on the edge since early this month over allegations of land grabbing, sexual assault and exploitation against local TMC leaders.

West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee. (ANI file photo)
West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee. (ANI file photo)

“I would like to tell all our leaders in village panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads. Work together. It is the people who have voted you to power and that’s why you are here. If the people throw you out, no one would even look at you,” Banerjee said while addressing a government distribution programme in Purulia district.

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With the Lok Sabha elections approaching, the TMC has swung into a damage control mode after allegations surfaced against local party leaders in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district. While some of the accused leaders have been removed from party posts, a few have been arrested over the allegations.

“I have always believed in this and those who are with me in TMC, I would also like them to believe in this too. Else go home or join other political parties. I have no problem. You cannot deprive the people while in TMC,” she added.

Several villages in Sandeshkhali block-II have been on the boil since early this month with villagers, mostly women, hitting the roads demanding the arrest of TMC strongman and zilla parishad leader leader Sheikh Shahjahan.

Police have arrested two of his aides and TMC zilla parishad members Shibaparasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar over the allegations including sexual assault.

Recently a mob heckled a TMC panchayat leader Ajit Maity and ransacked his house. He was also arrested. Properties of more TMC leaders including Sheikh Sirauddin, Shankar Sardar and Haladhar Ari also came under attack recently. A few like Uttam Sardar, Maity and Sirajuddin have been removed from party posts.

“She has sensed the danger ahead. She has understood that she has lost the people’s support. Her party leaders are involved in multiple scams and many have been arrested. She is trying to portray that she is the only one who is clean in the party. These tricks wont work. She and her party have been unmasked,” said Rahul Sinha, BJP leader.

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh chief minister Vishnu Deo Sai wrote a letter to Banerjee on Tuesday urging her to initiate strict action against those responsible for sexually assaulting tribal women and grabbing their land. He said that the report submitted by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes on Sandeshkhali was gruesome.

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“Is he doing some drama? Tribals in BJP-ruled states are being exploited and tortured. The West Bengal government has at least started returning lands to the farmers. BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari recently abused a woman TMC leader. First the BJP should remove him from the party,” said Kunal Ghish, TMC spoklesperson.

On Tuesday, Indian Secular Front (ISF) leader Nawsad Siddique, the only Muslim opposition MLA in the West Bengal legislative assembly, was arrested on his way to Sandeshkhali. Police said he was arrested under section 151 of CrPC (preventive arrest). He was later released on bail. A Congress delegation was also stopped from going to Sandeshkhali.

“I don’t know why I was arrested. The spot from where I was arrested was several kilometres away from Sandeshkhali, where prohibitory orders have been clamped in some pockets. I was going there to meet the villagers. I did not break any rules,” Siddique told reporters.

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