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MLA in fix on Mollah stage

Trinamul MLA Nuruzzaman and (right) expelled CPM legislator Abdur Rezzak Mollah at the news conference. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Calcutta, March 10: Trinamul MLA M. Nuruzzaman was left groping for words today at a programme where Abdur Rezzak Mollah and former IPS officer Nazrul Islam attacked the Mamata Banerjee government for not doing enough for minorities and backward classes.

The first-time MLA from Deganga, North-24 Parganas, took the dais smiling this afternoon for the unveiling of a special edition of Udar Akash, a Bengali magazine. But as Nazrul and Mollah launched their attack on the Mamata Banerjee government, he looked uncomfortable.

The MLA, who is a member of Mollah’s apolitical outfit Association for Dalits and Muslims, tried to be politically correct in his short address as he stressed on the need for “social justice” for the empowerment of the downtrodden.

But a barrage of questions linked to what Nazrul and Mollah had said greeted him at the news conference. Nuruzzaman was asked if he shared their views. He was also asked whether he would join the party that Mollah plans to float ahead of the 2016 Assembly elections.

“I don’t have any comments to make…. Whatever they have said is their view,” was his reply throughout.

After the programme ended, Nuruzzaman got off the stage and left quickly.

To be fair, Nuruzzaman didn’t have much of a choice. As a minority leader, he could not have said no to the organisers of the programme, when they invited him for the release of the special edition — a collection of essays pertinent for the minorities and backward classes — of Udar Akash.

As a Trinamul legislator, it was equally difficult for him to comment on the observations made by Mollah and Nazrul, both known for their dislike of Mamata and her government.

“I could not make compromises with the present regime and that’s why I was denied promotion,” said Nazrul, who retired as additional director-general (provisioning) on February 28. He had legally challenged the government’s decision of not making him a director-general and also questioned the appointment of five former colleagues as directors-general, superseding him.

“At present, whatever is happening in the state is not good for democracy…. We have to resist it,” Nazrul said, referring to the politics of defection in Bengal that has helped the ruling Trinamul.

Rezzak was more caustic. He said that the new government had retained the hegemony of the upper-class in the administration despite promising a change.

“Both the parties (the CPM and Trinamul) use the minorities and the backward classes before the polls, but forget their representatives after the election. Minority representatives either languish as MLAs or are given charge of inconsequential departments,” Mollah said.

He also repeated his mission of making a Dalit the chief minister and a Muslim the deputy chief minister after the 2016 Assembly elections.

the Trinamul MLA told The Telegraph later in the evening: “I went there thinking it was an apolitical programme, where a special edition of a magazine was to be unveiled…. But it turned out to be a political programme.”

He also added that he did not seek permission from the party to attend the programme as he thought it was “nothing but a magazine release”.

Nuruzzaman’s presence at the programme did not go down well with a section of Trinamul leaders. “I am not aware whether the MLA took permission. I will seek an explanation on why he attended the programme,” said Partha Chatterjee, state parliamentary affairs minister.