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Subhendu meet put off

Tamluk, June 8: Two Subhendu Adhikari loyalists today announced that the June 15 rally to felicitate the Tamluk MP for his victory in the Lok Sabha elections had been postponed.

“We have postponed the June 15 meeting because Subhendu won’t be able to attend it. We are planning to organise it early next month,” Somnath Bera, an East Midnapore zilla parishad functionary known to be close to Subhendu, told reporters this afternoon. Sheikh Sufian, another Subhendu loyalist and deputy chief of the zilla parishad, was beside him.

The planned rally at Nimtouri, near Tamluk, was being touted as a show of strength by the Subhendu camp at a time he has been replaced as Trinamul Youth Congress state president.

The move, coupled with the appointment of a rival of Subhendu and his father Sisir as the East Midnapore Trinamul working president, is being viewed as an attempt by the party leadership to clip the wings of the Adhikaris, who have become a power centre in the district.

Trinamul sources said Subhendu’s aides could have postponed the rally after getting wind of plans by working president Akhil Giri to felicitate the five newly elected MPs from East and West Midnapore, including the Adhikaris. Giri had earlier sought to distance the party from the rally planed by Subhendu’s aides.

Giri and six MLAs from East Midnapore met in Panskura today and finalised the decision to honour the MPs in the area next month. Ten of the 16 MLAs invited to today’s meeting stayed away.

“It was decided at today’s meeting that a rally under the banner of the Trinamul Youth Congress would be held next month at Panskura. Sisirbabu, his son Subhendu and three other party MPs will be felicitated there,” Giri told reporters. He added that Trinamul all-India general secretary Mukul Roy, known to have testy ties with Subhendu, and some state-level leaders were expected to attend the “grand felicitation programme”.

However, hours after Giri’s announcement, Sisir, the East Midnapore Trinamul president and Contai MP, said he had “no idea” about today’s meeting.

“They did not seek my permission for today’s meeting. So, I would not comment on today’s meeting or the proposed Panskura event,” he said.

Dibakar Jana, an East Midnapore zilla parishad functionary close to the Adhikaris, said Giri had “no authority to either convene today’s meeting or the Panskura event”.

“Akhilbabu is the working president. When the district president is active enough to take decisions on organisational matters, the working president has no power to convene a meeting,” he said, alleging that the move was “aimed at creating divisions in the party”.