Calcutta, Nov. 12: After downsizing Ajit Panja, Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee appears to be targeting Sudip Bandopadhyay, her one-time lieutenant.
At a general body meeting that lasted till late evening, Mamata, in a veiled reference to Bandopadhyay, said those who have been defying the party line must be firmly dealt with.
Without naming the MP from Calcutta Northwest, she warned that the party would not hesitate to “punish” even a “big-time functionary if he chooses to operate independent of the party line”.
“After winning an election or two, one or two leaders who have no base are trying to impose their personal opinions on the party. I suggest that instead of airing their views they should place them at the party meeting,” Mamata said. “Nobody is above the organisation and the party will not hesitate to punish in case of defiance, no matter how big he is.”
Pankaj Banerjee, leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and chief of the Trinamul policy-making body, alleged that “Sudip” stayed away from tonight’s meeting though he had been invited a long time ago. “It is unfortunate that Sudip left for Delhi, turning down an invitation from us. This is not expected from a senior party functionary,” he said.
“If somebody thinks he is above the organisation he will have to face the music. We are determined to give a lesson to those who are trying to defy the party as well as Mamata,” he added in a clear warning to Bandopadhyay.
According to Trinamul sources, Bandopadhyay has incurred Mamata’s wrath on three counts. First, he had asked her to remain with the National Democratic Alliance when she had decided to quit the coalition on the railway bifurcation issue.
Second, he had invited Union communications minister Pramod Mahajan and BJP spokesman Arun Jaitley to his central Calcutta residence without informing any Trinamul functionary. Third, he angered Mamata by demanding that Panja’s case be considered as one could not remain suspended for so long. Panja, one of the co-founders of Trinamul, had been suspended on the charge of hobnobbing with the BJP which Mamata did not approve.