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Mamata set for 3-month war on Buddha

Calcutta, Nov. 6: Mamata Banerjee today gave the go-ahead to a series of programmes designed to “unsettle” Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government and boost the morale of her party workers.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Pankaj Banerjee, who announced the Trinamul Congress’ plans, said party workers would hit the streets and cripple the state with rallies, blockades and gheraos.

The three-month agitation would begin on November 10 and continue till the middle of February next year. The leader of Opposition said Trinamul would try to get Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to address a rally at the Brigade Parade Grounds in February.

Mamata convened an extended working committee meeting yesterday at the party’s newly-built office to chalk out the plans. However, according to insiders, she was disappointed with the poor attendance.

Trinamul sources said Mamata could not hide her displeasure on seeing that more than half the working committee, including a sizeable number of MLAs, MPs and councillors, was absent.

Mamata, the sources said, was “surprised” that a large number of councillors and MLAs from Calcutta and adjoining districts did not attend the meeting. “I think they did not give any importance to the meeting, which was convened… to adopt political programmes,” she said.

Turning to Pankaj Banerjee and another leader, Mukul Roy, she asked why so many working committee members were absent. “We must look at ourselves; it’s time we gave the issue a serious thought. If things go like this and if our party leaders wish to act independently, the party will be ruined before long. Find out the reasons, why such a situation has developed,” Mamata said.

The sources said Mamata spent most of the six-hour meeting expressing her anger at the ongoing squabbles within the party. “I have been telling you time and again to maintain discipline in the party, stop infighting and work unitedly. Look at north Bengal, where our party has been virtually washed away, and it is only due to party squabble. What do you want — to strengthen the party or ruin (it)'”

Addressing the MLAs, MPs and councillors, she said: “Don’t forget that you have been elected on Trinamul tickets. The attitude of some MLAs and MPs seems to be that they have won the election on their own. I make it clear that the attitude of those leaders will have to change.”

Mamata made her point clear about the infighting when she asked one-time foe Ajit Panja to address the gathering but did not give confidant-turned-rival Sudip Bandopadhyay, who was seated on the dais, an opportunity to speak.

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