| What's happening' Mamata in front of Taj Bengal on Thursday
Calcutta, Oct. 21: If Trinamul Congress workers were trying to make amends for yesterday's 'no show', they failed as miserably today.
For six hours, Mamata Banerjee's lieutenant Madan Mitra stood in steady rain in the open grounds at Salop in Uluberia, waiting for Salim Group representatives to turn up.
They never did, because they were never supposed to.
The Salim representatives were handed over the lease papers for the land to set up the two-wheeler factory at Oberoi Grand, in the presence of their boss, Benny Santoso.
Mitra and his men returned to the city in the evening, dripping wet, to report their day's performance to their leader, who was in no mood to listen to excuses.
Mamata stayed away from public glare the entire day after staging dharnas in front of Taj Bengal and Writers' Buildings yesterday. Refusing to even answer phone calls, she instructed party functionaries not to disturb her.
Many Trinamul leaders like Subrata Bakshi and Pankaj Banerjee, who went to see her, had to return disappointed.
Sources said Mamata was 'deeply disturbed' at having been 'betrayed' by her own men during yesterday's road blockade programme to prevent Santoso from entering the city. 'She is in a sullen mood,' said one of her associates.
He added that she had ins- tituted a probe to find out why those who had been assigned responsibilities for the protest abandoned their posts.
After his return to the city from his failed mission in Uluberia, an agitated Mitra said: 'We were caught on the wrong foot a second time. To compensate yesterday's poor show, we had planned a grand demonstration at Salop during the day. But we had to return disheartened as none of the Salim team members turned up there till 5 pm.'
He demanded punishment for party functionaries who had 'wrongly' briefed Mamata about the Salim team's plans to visit Salop, about 15 km from Calcutta, today. 'Mamata was misinformed about their visit. We would not have spent the whole day at Salop if the party seniors had properly briefed Mamata. We were made a laughing stock for the second time in two days,' Mitra said.
Trinamul sources said the leadership is now banking on two rallies in the city ' at Shyambazar on Tuesday and at Jadavpur on Wednesday ' to provide a face-saver. These would be held under the banner of the born-yesterday Paschimbanga Ganatantrik Front. 'We shall prove that Trinamul and its allies are the only alternative to the Left Front by mobilising a huge crowd,' party general secretary Mukul Roy said.