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Maoist-backed meet heat on Adhikari

Midnapore, Calcutta, July 12: Trinamul strongman Subhendu Adhikari and minister Sukumar Hansda today participated in a rally in Jungle Mahal that most leaders and workers of West Midnapore stayed away from because the organisers allegedly had links with Maoists and the CPM.

The rally was organised by the Santrash Birodhi Jana Jagaran Manch, an outfit that Trinamul had launched in rebel-affected areas in March 2011 to counter Maoists, at Bhature in Jamboni. West Midnapore Trinamul leaders said many Moaists and CPM harmads (mercenaries) had joined the Manch.

“Maoists and harmads have infiltrated the Manch. So we asked our leaders and workers to steer clear of the rally. We have nothing to do with the rally,” said Churamoni Mahato, the Trinamul MLA from Gobiballavpur.

He accused Tamluk MP Adhikari and western region development minister and Jhargram MLA Hansda, the only prominent leader from West Midnapore to attend the meeting, of going against the party line. “The action by the two leaders amounts to anti-party activities. We want the state leadership to take action against them,” Mahato said.

Trinamul state president and MP Subrata Bakshi said in Calcutta that the party would act only after “we get a report from our district committee”.

“We have come to know that the MP and the minister attended the Manch-sponsored rally. But the leadership will decide on action, if any, only after receiving the report,” he added.

Trinamul sources said Adhikari, who was “censured” by the leadership for the party’s defeat in last month’s elections to the Haldia municipality, “has risked disciplinary action” by participating in the rally.

Adhikari said this evening that he had “no clue” about Maoists infiltrating the Manch. “I was told that the rally would be held to mark the deaths of two Trinamul workers at the hands of Maoists on this day last year. I don’t think I did anything wrong by taking part in the event.”

Hansda, who is known to be close to Adhikari, said he participated in the rally because he had thought it was a “party-backed event”. “I had no idea that district leaders and workers would shun the programme,” he said. Hansda said he was in Calcutta and did not know that the West Midnapore leadership had decided to boycott the event.

A district Trinamul leader said: “When the manch was floated, it consisted of ground-level party workers. But gradually, Maoists and CPM harmads took control.”

West Midnapore Trinamul president Dinen Roy said that at a meeting last Sunday, the district unit had “adopted the resolution” that it would stay away from today’s programme.

At the rally, Adhikari alleged that Maoists had created strongholds in Jharkhand and Odisha because of the “Centre’s inept handing” of the rebel problem.