The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trinamul leader targets mayor

Calcutta, Aug. 23: Trinamul Congress chief whip in the Assembly Sovandeb Chattopadhyay today accused mayor Subrata Mukherjee of colluding with the CPM to corner members of the party-affiliated workers’ and employees’ union.

“The show-cause notice served on me and the suspension orders against five members of my union is aimed at keeping the ruling CPM happy. Subrata has been doing this for nearly 20 years,” the trade union leader said.

The outburst comes a day after a show-cause was slapped on him for misbehaving with commissioner of Calcutta Municipal Corporation Debashish Som.

Still smarting under the humiliation, Chattopadhyay demanded that the mayor should have consulted at the party level before “slapping the showcause notice on me”.

“I don’t consider it an administrative decision. Subrata has done this to uphold his image before the CPM and make chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee happy,” he said. The union would organise a rally in front of the civic headquarters on August 29 to protest against the mayor’s “unilateral action”, added the Trinamul leader.

Party chief Mamata Banerjee, however, took exception to Chattopadhyay’s “indecent comment” on Mukherjee and asked Chattopadhyay to cancel the August 29 demonstration.

“The agitation against the mayor will send a wrong signal to the party rank and file as well as give a handle to the ruling CPM to corner us, particularly at a time when the panchayat elections are round the corner,” she said.

Chattopadhyay, who called on Mamata, has reportedly threatened to quit as Trinamul Congress chief whip in the Assembly. Mamata, however, told both to resolve the matter between themselves.

Justifying his action, an unfazed Mukherjee today reiterated that he did not need to consult the party to take an administrative decision.

“I am the mayor and if somebody misbehaves with my chief executive, I am left with no option but to take action against him,” he said.

He made it clear he would not mix his administrative role with the party he belongs to.

Concerned over the present stand-off, senior party leaders, including some members of the mayor-in-council, said this would give rise to intra-party squabbles. “If didi continues to back Subratada, caring little for ordinary workers, we will have to rejoin the Congress,” said a member of Chattopadhyay’s union.

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