Calcutta, Dec. 10: The Trinamul “top leadership” today intervened to put off an event where a varsity union leader accused of assaulting Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay would have shared a platform with party veteran Mukul Roy.
Manmatho Biswas, the vice-president of Trinamul-backed Siksha Bandhu Samity of Calcutta University who was recently accused of assaulting Chattopadhyay, was scheduled to appear at a media conference to formally admit some members from the Congress-led varsity employees’ union.
The media conference was to be addressed by Biswas and Trinamul national general secretary Mukul Roy at the Samity’s office on the varsity campus.
“We suspended today’s press meet on the CU campus at the last moment to cap the controversy involving trade union leader Chattopadhyay and Manmatho. The presence of Manmatho at the press meet, particularly after he was accused of assaulting Sobhandebda, would have further embarrassed us,” Samity state president Gagan Sarkar said this afternoon.
Asked if the chief minister intervened to suspend the event to spare Chattopadhyay further humiliation, Sarkar said: “I can tell you this much — the press meet was suspended at the instance of the top leadership.”
Biswas confirmed that the media conference was “scheduled to admit 75 members from the Congress-affiliated employees’ union in the varsity”.
“But this was suspended at the last moment,” he said.
A Trinamul MP said the leadership till this morning had decided to go ahead with the media conference even after Chattopadhyay had yesterday publicly alleged that “a section of party people involved with syndicates and extortion is ringing” Mamata Banerjee for their personal gain.
“But realising that a joint media meet of Mukul Roy and Manmatho might have further hurt Sobhandebda, it was suspended,” a Trinamul general secretary said.
Another party leader felt that a joint meet might have sent a message that the party was cosying up to the man who assaulted Chattopadhyay. “We don’t want to make dissidence in the party into a public affair,” he said.
Trinamul leaders said the party did not want to aggravate the situation at this moment and create the impression that Chattopadhyay was being driven out of the party.
Congress leader and junior railway minister Adhir Chowdhury said today: “He (Chattopadhyay) is a senior leader and the Congress doors are always open.”
Contacted, Chattopadhyay said tonight: “I had a meeting with Partha Chatterjee. During the meeting, I again expressed my anguish over the raw deal being meted out to me. I just want the leadership to condemn the incident and nothing else.”
Asked about the suspension of the media conference, Chattopadhyay said: “I have no idea about it.”