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Party defence for Anubrata applause

Calcutta, Feb. 17: Mamata Banerjee today told the Assembly that her recent praise of Birbhum Trinamul leader Anubrata Mondal, accused in a murder case, was part of a party review and not “related to the government at all”.

“What I said was at a party conference, a party convention. The programme was not related to the government at all. At the party meeting, I did a performance review, who is good, who is bad…I have every right to do it,” Mamata said without naming Mondal, accused in the murder of a Trinamul rebel’s father ahead of last year’s rural polls.

The CPM objected to the chief minister’s comments, made during her reply to the governor’s address, but Mamata said she was referring to the issue as it was being “talked about”.

Mamata had while addressing a Trinamul workers’ meet on Saturday described Mondal, the party’s Birbhum chief, as a “fabulous organiser” who was being “unnecessarily targeted”.

The comments had been criticised by the Opposition as they came a day after Calcutta High Court formed a special investigation team to probe the murder of Sagar Ghosh, father of the Trinamul dissident Hriday Ghosh. Hriday had unsuccessfully contested the rural polls as an Independent.

Mondal is among the 41 accused in the case, named for having allegedly made speeches inciting workers to attack party dissidents. Only five of the suspects have been arrested so far.

But leader of Opposition, the CPM’s Surjya Kanta Mishra, said today that Mamata should not have raised a sub-judice matter in the Assembly.