Sept. 18: The Congress will for the first time hold a public meeting condemning forcible land acquisition in Singur, the date and venue coinciding with Trinamul’s annual Black Day denouncing Mamata Banerjee’s arrest on September 25, 2006.
The Congress event, to condemn the “harassment” of farmers who refused to part with land for the Tata Nano project, will be held in front of the Singur block development office on September 25 from 2pm. Trinamul’s event will be held at the same place at 10am on the same day.
Trinamul has been observing Black Day since 2007 to protest the alleged police assault on Mamata in 2006 and her subsequent arrest during the anti-land acquisition movement she led.
State Congress spokesperson Abdul Mannan, who hails from Hooghly, said his party announced the programme “after seeing” the “massive turnout” at a rally in Singur organised by the district unit on August 26.
“After seeing the massive turnout at the rally, we are confident that people are fast turning to us because they are disillusioned with Trinamul’s autocratic attitude. The September 25 meeting is part of our effort to consolidate our organisation in Hooghly, taking advantage of the steady erosion in Trinamul’s base,” he said.
Trinamul leaders termed the Congress’s move “most unethical”, adding that it was “nothing but an attempt to show its strength in a district where it has no organisational base”.
“The Congress knows that we observe Black Day every year in Singur on September 25. The party’s decision to hold a programme on the Singur issue on the same day and place is nothing but an attempt to show its strength in a district that is our bastion,” a Trinamul general secretary said.
The Hooghly district administration, however, is yet to give permission for the Congress and Trinamul events.
“We have received applications from both Trinamul and the Congress. We will take a decision taking into account all angles,” said Biswanath, the subdivisional officer of Chandernagor, this evening.
“I can say this much that both parties have sought permission from us for their respective meetings. We will allow either of the parties in the light of the law-and-order situation,” he added.
The officer in charge of Singur police station, Tapas Sinha, indicated that Trinamul might be given the go-ahead since “it sought permission before the Congress”. Biswanath refused comment on this.