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Halted MLA drives home discontent
- Trinamul’s Arjun blames ‘powerful leaders’, lodges complaint against cops

Calcutta, June 5: Trinamul Congress MLA Arjun Singh today used a law-and-order controversy to train his guns on “powerful leaders” of his party, bringing to the fore fissures in the ruling establishment.

After lodging a police complaint, Singh told reporters: “I don’t want to name anyone, but some powerful leaders of my party may have instructed the police to embarrass me. Otherwise, the police would not have had the guts to stop my car. The police never dared to do such a thing even when the Left was in power.”

A day after some policemen looking for a criminal stopped his SUV, the Bhatpara MLA lodged a complaint against the law-enforcers with the Barrackpore police commissioner and threatened to take up the issue with the Assembly Speaker and chief minister Mamata Banerjee tomorrow.

“I have mentioned in detail how the police pointed a gun at me and my driver and abused us in public. If no action is taken within a few days, I will move court,” Singh said after coming out of the office of Barrackpore commissioner Vishal Garg.

The deputy commissioner, detective department, of Barrackpore, C. Sudhakar said that based on the complaint, the commissioner had formed an inquiry team.

A Barrackpore police team had stopped Singh’s Toyota Fortuner last night after it allegedly jumped a signal. The police had mistaken Singh’s car for that of the criminal’s because both SUVs were black and had two matching numbers. The MLA had shouted at the police and called up a senior police officer and someone in Trinamul, alleging harassment.

Sources in the Barrackpore commissionerate said the police team was looking for Manish Shukla, a Trinamul leader wanted in an attempt to murder case and known to be close to Singh.

A senior police officer in North 24-Parganas, where Bhatpara is located, said the MLA was making a “political issue” out of the incident. Although the police are well within their rights to check any car without a warrant, the cops had apologised to the MLA.

Trinamul sources said Singh had differences with all-India general secretary Mukul Roy. They said the fiefs of Singh and Mukul overlapped.

The sources said the relations between Mukul and Singh had taken a turn for the worse after the all-India Trinamul general secretary’s son Subhrangshu was made the working president of the party youth wing’s state unit. Singh, the sources said, was on a sticky wicket as Dinesh Trivedi, the Trinamul candidate for the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat, had trailed in the Bhatpara Assembly segment. But Trivedi had led in Bijpur, Subhrangshu’s Assembly constituency that falls in the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat.

“Subhrangshu has started taking control of the party in the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency. He has the support of top leaders. This is creating problems between the camps led by the Roys and Singh,” a Trinamul leader said.

“The party feels that it’s high time for Subhrangshu to take control of the area as we will face the Assembly polls in two years. He has proved that he can fend off a BJP onslaught,” he added.

Singh today said he had called up senior Trinamul leaders Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, Subrata Bakshi and Firhad Hakim to inform them of the “police harassment”.

Sources close to Singh said he had sent a text message to the chief minister but was yet to get a reply.

In an apparent show of strength, Singh came to the commissionerate today with around 350 supporters. They blocked the five-point Barrackpore-Chiria More crossing for over half an hour, protesting the police action. Singh’s backers observed a 12-hour bandh in Bhatpara today and stopped bus and ferry services in the area.

“By doing all this, he (Singh) is only compounding his problems. Mamatadi will not tolerate such indiscipline,” a senior Trinamul leader said.