Suri, Aug. 11: Birbhum Trinamul president Anubrata Mondal, who had instructed party workers last year to burn down houses of dissidents, today apologised with “folded hands” for “anything wrong” he may have done and asked members to reach out to people.
Addressing a Trinamul rally at Deshalpur village in Suri, Mondal said: “You will have to reach out to people. You will have to exercise restraint and work for the common people. There should not be any mistake. If I have done anything wrong, I apologise with folded hands.”
He added: “Old-timers in the party should be given due importance. If their voice is not heard, they can approach me. I will take action.”
Trinamul leaders close to the Birbhum party chief said Mondal’s softened stance followed instructions from Mamata Banerjee during a meeting last month in Bolpur.
The chief minister had apparently instructed Mondal and other Trinamul leaders to woo back party dissidents who have switched over to the BJP. According to sources, she had told Trinamul leaders the recent defections were a cause for concern for the party.
Six Trinamul rebel panchayat members in Parui and Hriday Ghosh, whose father Sagar Ghosh was shot dead four days after the hate speech by Mondal last year, had joined BJP in early July. Around 5,000 people had followed them to become primary members of the BJP.
A general secretary of the BJP in Birbhum, Subhasish Chowdhury, said tonight: “We have information that a large number of Trinamul old-timers are now disgruntled with their party. The infighting within Trinamul in Birbhum is also helping us to make our organisation stronger in the district.”
Mondal, however, did not give much importance to the recent defections in his speech today.
“Some small fries are crossing over to the BJP. They are from the Congress and the CPM. We don’t care about it,” the Trinamul leader said.
Mondal also urged party workers to highlight the government’s achievements.