|(From top) Tapas Pal, Satabdi Roy and Kunal Ghosh
Calcutta, Sept. 20: Trinamul tonight served showcause notices on MPs Satabdi Roy, Tapas Pal and Kunal Ghosh for “making anti-party statements”, a rare instance of such disciplinary action against senior functionaries since the party’s poll performance graph began to soar since the 2008 panchayat polls.
Actor-turned-politicians Satabdi Roy and Pal are members of the Lok Sabha while Ghosh is a Rajya Sabha MP.
“Our disciplinary committee served showcause notices on Satabdi, Tapas and Kunal tonight for making anti-party statements at a programme in Calcutta,” Trinamul all-India general secretary Mukul Roy told The Telegraph.
Tomorrow, Mukul Roy is expected to formally announce the decision, which the party’s disciplinary committee took this evening, hours after the MPs made the statements at a blood donation camp on Amherst Street. Sources said Mukul Roy would also announce the subsequent action on them.
“They will continue to be MPs and will have to toe the party line in Parliament,” a Trinamul leader said.
A party source said the disciplinary action followed a nod from chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who apparently indicated that “such indiscipline” would not be tolerated.
Although this is not the first time a senior Trinamul functionary has made anti-party statements — Jadavpur MP Kabir Suman has openly criticised the party on several occasions and dared it to take action against him — the leadership decided to crack the whip this time.
“This swift and tough action is in keeping with the mood within the party leadership post-panchayat elections,” a Trinamul leader said.
“Twelve civic bodies will go to polls tomorrow…. We cannot simply ignore such irresponsible comments and attacks on the party,” he added.
The fact that Satabdi Roy, Pal and Ghosh made the comments despite being “outsiders with almost no political base” was another reason for the prompt disciplinary action, the sources said.
“Who are they? What have they done for the party?” asked an MLA.
At the blood-donation camp, disgruntled Trinamul MP Somen Mitra and his wife Sikha, the Chowringhee MLA who has been suspended from the party, were also present. The event was attended by around 1,000 Trinamul workers and supporters.
Sikha, under whose constituency Amherst Street falls, had organised the programme.
Asked what prevented the party from taking similar disciplinary action against Mitra and Sikha, Mukul Roy said: “We have reports that Somen Mitra did not make any anti-party statements at the programme. That is why no action was initiated against him.”
At the event, journalist-turned-MP Ghosh referred to the Saradha default issue, causing embarrassment to the party.
“The primary target is Ghosh as he has been spreading canards about the party and trying to influence a section in Trinamul…. The party high command is aware of such shenanigans,” a Trinamul source said.
He said that though some in the party were in favour of ignoring the comments, the decision to showcause them was taken after Mamata asked Mukul Roy to do something to stem the “dissent” in the party.
At the Amherst Street programme, Ghosh said: “Recently, in the presence of Saugatada (Saugata Ray) and Somenda, somebody told me that I need not worry any more as the Saradha issue has almost fizzled out. I will not be a scapegoat and allow the issue to fizzle out…. Hand me over to the CBI. I won’t remain silent if I am made a scapegoat.”
“There should be a limit to the pretence of being honest,” he added, without naming anybody.
Krishnagar MP Pal expressed his dissatisfaction at having to wait with a visitor’s slip to enter Writers’ Buildings. Satabdi Roy echoed him and supported Sikha.
“For a child, the question of self-respect or disrespect does not arise because of his or her tender age. But for adults like us, it definitely matters. When I see Sikhadi speaking out against the party, I find her remarks to be justified as she was always told to keep mum at party meetings,” the Birbhum MP said.
Sikha was suspended for criticising Trinamul MLAs for the Assembly vandalism and attack on Left MLAs last year. She has, however, maintained that she never received a suspension letter.
While Ghosh and Satabdi Roy were unavailable for comment, Pal said he did not make any anti-party statements.
“I don’t know about any showcause notice. How can I talk against a party with which I have been associated for the past 14 years? Didi knows it too,” Pal told this correspondent.