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TMC syndicate warning

- Party bars leaders & workers from real estate spoils

Calcutta, Aug. 19: An unsung but booming business in Bengal has received formal political acknowledgment with the Trinamul Congress today issuing a circular asking party functionaries to shun “syndicates”.

Syndicate is a euphemism for extortion rackets that use an army of unemployed youths to armtwist the construction business to accept materials on unreasonable terms.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had repeatedly asked party supporters not to get involved with such rackets. But a renewed burst of skirmishes over sharing the spoils in North 24-Parganas, which includes Rajarhat and houses a raft of construction projects, appears to have compelled the district leadership to issue the unusual circular.

The fourth entry in Circular No. 45/2014 translates as: “To be noted specifically, no leader or worker can be involved directly or indirectly with brick-kilns, bheris (fisheries), syndicates and land dealings.”

The circular, so far restricted to one district but expected to be issued elsewhere in the state too, is signed by Jyotipriya Mullick, the president of the North 24-Parganas Trinamul unit as well as a minister, and observer Nirmal Ghosh.

Verbal strictures had been delivered in the past but Trinamul insiders could not recall immediately another instance of a circular having been issued. “Obviously, the warnings issued by the senior leaders had failed to make an impact,” said a senior Trinamul leader.

The circular also deals with alleged landgrab in the guise of opening party offices and seeks to police the process of setting up such miniature centres of power. (See chart)

“The time has come for us to deal with the matter with an iron hand. However, big a leader may be, if he or she is involved in any way with syndicates, land dealings, fisheries, then there is no place for them in the party,” Mullick, also food minister, told The Telegraph.

Trinamul sources said the flashpoint was a turf war between two factions that has embarrassed the party in the run-up to an Assembly bypoll in the district next month.

Factions claiming allegiance to Barasat MP Kakali Ghosh Dastidar and Rajarhat-New Town MLA Sabyasachi Dutta have been blamed for most of the clashes in the area over the past three months.

dos and don’ts

  • Key directives in the Trinamul circular. Not in sequence
  • No leader or worker can be involved directly or indirectly with brick-kilns, bheris (fisheries) and syndicates and in land dealings
  • Do not open party offices of Trinamul and its frontal organisations without the district leadership’s permission
  • Dismantle within seven days all party offices on government land and in private property
  • Nine-member committee will examine applications for opening party offices
  • Do not use the party chief’s photos in banners and invitation cards without permission