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Suman to stay & torment party

Calcutta, April 7: A week ago, Jadavpur MP Kabir Suman had embarrassed Mamata Banerjee by wanting to quit Parliament and his party in protest against the “insult” meted out to him and “corruption” by a section of party leaders.

Today, he caused further embarrassment to the Trinamul Congress chief and the party — this time by announcing that he would not quit.

That the rebel MP may not quit after all had been anticipated since his meeting with writer and Trinamul mentor Mahasweta Devi last Wednesday. His announcement today followed a long meeting with her last night.

Suman may have thus abided by his “mother-like” Mahasweta’s advice. But in doing so, he has put the ball back into Mamata’s court.

The Trinamul chief, who refused to discuss the matter with Mahasweta, wanted Suman out of the party and Parliament so that the embarrassment he has been causing to her comes to an end. But Suman now has queered the pitch for her— at least for this round.

“We have heard about Suman’s announcement. We want him to quit because he has caused a lot of damage by constantly speaking against party leaders. Things are back to square one for us,” a Trinamul general secretary said. “Mamatadi was upset when told about Suman’s announcement,” he added.

Convinced that his quitting Parliament and Trinamul would make the party breathe easy, he today announced he was not leaving in order to “cause further discomfiture” to a section of leaders.

“I am sorry that I am unable to let (Trinamul’s Lok Sabha chief whip) Sudip (Bandopadhyay) rest in peace. I will not resign so that I can cause him discomfort. I will feel relieved if the party expels me,” Suman told reporters at a news conference at his home.

Bandopadhyay had last week forwarded to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Suman’s text message expressing his desire to quit and requested her to treat the message as his formal resignation.

Suman today poured vitriol on a section of Trinamul leaders for “indulging in corruption at the ground level”.

“There is no denying that a wind of change is blowing across the state. But if party leaders do not rectify themselves, then things may not be smooth for us in the coming days,” he said. “I am terribly upset over the expulsion of Mufazzal (Hossain, his election agent). His only fault was that he was associated with me. This might impact our minority vote bank,” he added.

Suman said he had not been allowed to speak against Mamata’s rail budget. “I had my own critical evaluation of the railway budget. But Mamata told me that I would have to first write to Sudip. This was unjust. That is why I did not speak in Parliament on the railway budget,” he said.

The MP said he would not contest elections any more. “Politics is not my cup of tea. I love to be a singer instead,” he added.

He said a “written appeal by 1,700 people” from his constituency dissuaded him from quitting. “These people had elected me as MP from Jadavpur. I cannot turn down their request,” he said, showing a purported copy of the appeal.

Asked if he would strive to “serve” the party now, Suman said: “I know I am unwanted in the party. I will have to swallow many things.”

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