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Subrata on Mamata dais

Singur, Sept. 16: Congress leader Subrata Mukherjee today defied the party line and joined Mamata Banerjee’s Singur agitation after munching muri-telebhaja at her home.

Mukherjee said he went as a Congress leader “to back a people’s movement” but his party boss, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, begged to differ.

“Subrata went despite my objections. He went on his own and the state Congress had nothing to do with it,” the state Congress president said about his deputy.

Mukherjee was recently anointed the working president at Das Munshi’s behest.

Asked if Mukherjee had invited action, he said: “I’ll discuss the matter in the party.”

At Mamata’s house, Mukherjee was joined by another Congress rebel, Somen Mitra. All three left for Singur in the same car.

Mamata welcomed Mukherjee on her dais, but not all Trinamul Congress supporters did. Minutes after Mukherjee told the rally he was not there for a ticket to the Lok Sabha, a Trinamul Congress supporter from Burdwan dubbed him an “opportunist”.

In the year 2000, Mukherjee, then a Congress MLA, fought the civic polls on a Trinamul ticket and became the mayor. In 2005, he went back to the Congress after Mamata refused to make him mayor for a second term if her party won.

“Didi had called you a watermelon (Congress outside, CPM inside),” screamed a man from Nadia.

An embarrassed Mamata had to intervene and threaten to leave the venue to stop the jeering. She asked party man Mukul Roy to identify those who had taunted Mukherjee.

Asked if he would return to Trinamul, Mukherjee said he still considered himself a Congress leader. “If I am thrown out of the party, I will have to take a decision.”

Observers said Mukherjee had been restive for the past few months over the rise of Das Munshi’s wife Deepa in the party. Only a corporation councillor now, he realises he has a better chance of making it to the Lok Sabha on a Trinamul ticket.

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