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Trinamul cracks show in Balurghat

Balurghat, March 13: The first meeting of Arpita Ghosh, the Trinamul Congress candidate for Balurghat Lok Sabha seat, with party MLAs and office-bearers today was marked by a heated exchange of words over the South Dinjapur district leadership’s alleged failure to involve all leaders in the campaign, sources said.

Other than Ghosh, the closed-door meeting was attended by the six Trinamul MLAs in the Balurghat Lok Sabha constituency, South Dinajpur district president Biplab Mitra and around 50 leaders. The session was held at a club in Gangarampur.

The sources said Gangarampur MLA Satyan Roy asked Mitra why he had been handling the election campaign alone without keeping party leaders in the loop.

Roy was upset that when Ghosh had come to his constituency, Gangarampur, on March 10 for the first time after her candidature had been announced, MLAs in the district were not given a chance to meet her.

Ghosh, a theatre personality, called on Mitra that day and left for Raiganj for a performance without meeting any party leader in the district.

“Roy said being the MLA of Gangarampur, he should have been informed about the candidate’s visit. Mitra said Roy’s recent outbursts in public against the district leadership would confuse the cadres and warned that the MLA should refrain from such activities in the future,” said a source.

People in the know of affairs in Trinamul in South Dinajpur said the party had two factions in the district — one led by Mitra and the other by Balurghat MLA and minister Shankar Chakraborty. Roy is said to be loyal to Chakraborty.

The Tapan MLA, Bachhu Hansda, today got flak from Mitra at the meeting for greenlighting the transfer of more than 300 primary school teachers. Hansda is the chairman of the district primary school council.

The transfers were later scrapped by the district magistrate.

The CPM complained to the Election Commission that the transfer was a violation of model code of conduct as it had been issued after the election notification date of March 5.

“The district president said the termination of the teachers’ transfer was an embarrassment for the party. He pulled up Hansda for the transfer and cautioned that nothing should be done to attract the wrath of the Election Commission,” said the source.

Prabir Roy, Trinamul district general secretary, said the party president had instructed leaders at today’s meeting to put up a united fight for the victory of Ghosh.

MLA Roy denied that there were “heated arguments” at the meeting.

“Of course, I raised some issues at the meeting. We all resolved to work together for the election. Our leader is Mamata Banerjee. Arpita is her choice. So we have to work hard to help Arpita win in Balurghat,” he said.