Calcutta, April 22: A split stared in the face of Mamata Banerjee's Trinamul Congress tonight as the party brass began gunning for mayor Subrata Mukherjee in the public.
At a marathon meeting of the party's extended working committee, the leadership today recommended disciplinary action against the mayor for sticking to his stand on an alliance with the Congress for the ensuing civic elections.
The Trinamul disciplinary committee will now have to decide the course of action against Mukherjee.
Party spokesman Pankaj Banerjee said: 'We have to be harsh against Mukherjee as he has violated our line.'
Sources said the 'harsh' decision was likely to lead to a split in the party. The Trinamul mayor has already lined up for Tuesday a meeting with those in favour of the alliance at his south Calcutta residence.
Two Trinamul legislators ' Paras Dutta and Nirbed Roy, who were suspended three days ago on the same charge ' and a host of mayor-in-council members of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation will attend the meeting.
Mukherjee iterated tonight that he would continue to back the alliance call. 'Mamata should know that a pact with the Congress is the need of the hour. The party can retain the city civic board and other municipalities only by forging an alliance with the Congress. We must rise above petty politics and do what the political exigency requires. If the CPM agrees to back the Congress to form a government in Delhi only to keep the BJP at bay, why should we not act to fulfil the people's demand' he asked.
'Just go around the town and find out whether I am right. People want us to fight the CPM with the Congress.'
Party sources said he might float a front with like-minded legislators and councillors and enter the fray as its candidate for mayor. Mukherjee said: 'Too early to comment.'
Earlier, Pankaj Banerjee said: 'The mayor had agreed to issue a statement in support of the party line on the polls as a candidate for the Trinamul-BJP alliance. But we have heard nothing from him. So, convinced that he is against our line of thinking, we did not invite him for today's meeting.'
Mamata told a rally tonight: 'Those who are conspiring against the party by talking about an alliance with the Congress would be nowhere. We have Mir Jafars in our party... we have to be cautious.'
Banerjee said the mayor was 'hatching a conspiracy' to strengthen the CPM's hand.
The developments rekindled memory of Mamata's war of will with Ajit Panja and Sudip Bandopadhyay. Sidelined in the party for long, Panja had failed to retain the Calcutta North East Lok Sabha seat and Bandopadhyay lost Calcutta North West as an Independent.