Trinamul workers loyal to Mangobindo Adhikari gherao the jeep of Trinamul candidate Mumtaz Sanghamita Choudhuri near Bijipur, Burdwan, on Tuesday. Telegraph picture
Burdwan, April 22: Faction feud came to the fore during a road show of the Burdwan-Durgapur Trinamul candidate Mumtaz Sanghamita Choudhuri today when she was prevented by a section of party supporters from entering several villages in Burdwan’s Bhatar.
Choudhuri was scheduled to campaign in Bijipur, Bijoypur and Palashon and their neighbouring villages today. Choudhuri was travelling in an open jeep with four other cars and open jeeps following her along with nearly 100 party workers.
The 62-year-old physician was accompanied by Trinamul MLA from Bhatar Banamali Hazra and Bhatar block president Kamal Som.
When the convoy reached Bijipur village around 12.30pm, nearly 400 party workers from neighbouring villages, all followers of Hazra’s known rival in the party, Mangobindo Adhikari, surrounded Choudhuri’s jeep, thumped on the bonnet and started shouting why Adhikari was not included in the campaign committee.
Adhikari is a panchayat samiti functionary.
“It is the Trinamul MLA (Hazra) who has been deciding the members of the campaign committee and taking the candidate to places of his choice. But he has not consulted other prominent leaders like Mangobindo Adhikari,” shouted Ashok Roy, deputy chief of Amarun-II gram panchayat in the area who is close to Adhikari. The Trinamul workers who were accompanying Choudhuri protested and this led to an altercation between the groups. Choudhuri, initially looked flabbergasted, but later tried to pacify both factions.
But when they did not listen, she slumped in the seat beside the driver of the jeep.
Hazra, too, tried to quieten Adhikari’s followers but some Trinamul workers belonging to the rival camp shouted “Banamali Hazra go back”. They also went up to Choudhuri and complained to her against Hazra.
Unable to pacify the Trinamul faction, Hazra instructed his followers to turn the convoy back and moved out of the area to campaign in Bhatar town.
Admitting that Choudhuri could not campaign in some villages, Hazra said: “What happened today is shameful for our party. I was accused of appointing only Trinamul leaders close to me in the campaign committee. But it is not true. Those who are in the campaign committee are very active party leaders and organisers. When they did not let us enter the villages, we went in another direction.”
Contacted, Adhikari said the Trinamul MLA of Bhatar is involving only party workers and leaders close to him in the campaign. “The Trinamul candidate was taken by the Bhatar MLA to campaign in the Bijipur, Bijoypur and Palashon areas from where I was elected to the Bhatar panchayat samiti. But the MLA did not have the courtesy to either involve me in the campaign or inform me,” said Adhikari.
Choudhuri, however, said that some Trinamul workers complained to her that they had been kept out of the campaign planning. “They were quite resentful about it. However, I will try to ensure that everybody is involved in the future,” she said.
Burdwan-Durgapur votes on April 30