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Trinamul leaders & legislators differ

Calcutta, June 29: Mamata Banerjee found herself caught in a cleft stick tonight as an influential Trinamul Congress legislator asked her to soften stand on critics within the party and a chunk of legislators began to push her to call off the Assembly boycott.

Trinamul MLA from Dum Dum Arunava Ghosh, a lawyer and one of Mamata’s key managers, told her she should refrain from punishing fellow MLA Dipak Ghosh for questioning her decisions in a widely circulated “confidential” letter.

“I must tell you that the mood in the party as such does not conform to what you believe to be the case,” Arunava, who had also written to Mamata protesting some of her decisions though not as harshly as Dipak Ghosh, told his leader.

“May I implore you to reconsider the proposal now lying before you to suspend Dipakbabu. After all, the man has been with you ever since you founded Trinamul. If you punish him now, whatever morale is still left of the party will vanish. Why don’t you call him over, scold him, ask him not to repeat the offence and be done away with it,” Arunava is believed to have said.

A former bureaucrat, Dipak Ghosh is at the receiving end of Mamata’s wrath for circulating his letter to the party leader among MLAs, asking them to protest her acts in the party’s interest.

In his letter to Trinamul legislature party chief Pankaj Banerjee, Dipak Ghosh also questioned Mamata’s quitting the Union Cabinet as railway minister before the last Assembly elections.

Mamata and leaders like Banerjee and city mayor Subrata Mukherjee took exception to the letter and served Dipak Ghosh a showcause notice.

At Banerjee’s office in Tollygunge last night, members of the party’s disciplinary committee invited Mukherjee and chief whip in the Assembly Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay to discuss action against Dipak Ghosh. The meeting decided to suspend him from the party for challenging decisions taken at the highest level and “humiliating” Mamata.

“We are unanimous about the decision we will take against Dipak Ghosh. We will sit together tomorrow morning and make an announcement,” said Mukul Roy, a member of the committee.

The new rebel in Trinamul, however, does “not regret the letter”. “I did not write it with an intention to malign my leadership. All I wanted was a discussion to reconsider the decision to boycott the Assembly and strengthen the organisation in the wake of the debacle in the panchayat polls and the byelections,” he said.

Apart from Arunava, legislators Saugata Roy, Ashoke Deb, Nirbed Roy, Kashinath Misra and Shibdas Mukherjee have reportedly voiced their opposition to the Assembly boycott.

BJP brainstorm: The state unit of the BJP will organise a chintan baithak in Calcutta. A think tank of 15 members will meet on August 3, the party decided after a convention on the Iskcon temple premises in Nadia.

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