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Cong rally in ally city citadel

Calcutta, June 18: The state Congress today hit the streets to protest alleged Trinamul terror and threaten retaliation, stepping up the heat on Mamata Banerjee following the bitterness over the presidential election.

“Our honeymoon with Trinamul is over. So our workers will retaliate if attacked by Trinamul activists,” Murshidabad MP Adhir Chowdhury told a rally in the Trinamul citadel of Tollygunge in south Calcutta.

“Our chief minister’s one-point agenda these days is to wipe the Congress out from Bengal. This agenda has to be frustrated at any cost,” he added.

Over the next one month, the Congress plans rallies across the state in protest against alleged Trinamul attacks on its workers.

The campaign comes three days after the state’s Congress legislature party adopted a resolution saying party ministers were “feeling uncomfortable” in the Mamata government and sent a copy to the high command. The resolution had followed Mamata’s opposition to Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for President.

State Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya, who had chaired the legislature party meeting at the Assembly lobby, had told reporters: “The time has come to snap ties with Trinamul.”

Today’s rally was originally called to protest the alleged Trinamul attack on the home of the Congress’s south Calcutta district president, Mala Roy, on June 10. Congress leaders, however, used the event to train their guns on Mamata.

“The chief minister opposed Pranabda’s presidential nomination but is campaigning for somebody (A.P.J. Abdul Kalam) who is not willing to contest. This is ridiculous,” Chowdhury said.

Bhattacharya accused Mamata of “misleading people on her Facebook page by asking them to support Kalam” without finding out whether he was willing to contest. “This is nothing but misleading people,” he told the rally.

The state Congress chief said the party had written over half a dozen letters to the chief minister urging her to stop her party activists’ attacks on Congress workers.

“But nothing has been done so far. This is why the time has come to launch a counter-attack on Trinamul workers,” he later told reporters.

Reminded that Mamata had asked the Congress to leave the government when the party had organised a protest at Esplanade in January against a rise in crib deaths and poor paddy prices, Bhattacharya said: “We are ready to face any sort of eventuality. But there must be an end to Trinamul-sponsored terror on us.”

A Trinamul leader conceded that there was a huge turnout at today’s rally and said it reflected “people’s support for the Congress” in the aftermath of “Mamatadi’s opposition to Pranabda’s candidature” for President. Many “disgruntled” Trinamul workers may also have joined the rally, he said.