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Mamata calls Sobhandeb

Mamata & Sobhandeb

Mamata Banerjee on Friday called up aggrieved Trinamul MLA Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay and persuaded him to call off a rally he had planned to protest the assault on him by a rival faction of the party at Calcutta University.

Sources said Chattopadhyay, who has been with Trinamul since its inception, agreed to call off Friday’s rally only after the chief minister assured him during the five-minute telephonic talk that the leadership would look into his grievance.

Mamata’s call came a day after her attempt to placate the labour leader by asking urban development minister Firhad Hakim, Trinamul national general secretary Mukul Roy and panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee to talk to him.

“Mamata called me up today and asked me not to go ahead with my rally. Since she is the party’s leader, I complied with her request. But I have also asked her to take appropriate action against those guilty,” said Chattopadhyay, the government chief whip in the Assembly and former president of the Trinamul’s trade union wing, Inttuc.

A Trinamul insider said Mamata followed up her assurance by fixing a meeting between Chattopadhyay and three other senior leaders — Roy, industries minister Partha Chattopadhyay and state party chief Subrata Bakshi — at Trinamul Bhavan on Friday afternoon.

Chattopadhyay later said he had set out for the meeting and “almost reached Trinamul Bhavan” when the industries minister called him up to say “the meeting could not be held today because of other preoccupations”. The minister was not available for comment.

Some members of an Inttuc faction led by Mukul Roy and Dola Sen had dragged Chattopadhyay by the collar and assaulted him when he visited Calcutta University on Tuesday. He had lodged a police complaint against eight people.

A day later Chattopadhyay said he was hurt that the leadership had not taken any action against the guilty and might consider leaving the party if he faced any more insult. On Thursday, when asked whether he would approach Mamata on the issue, he said: “I shall only meet Mamata if she calls me.”

A senior Trinamul leader said Mamata had no option but to intervene because Chattopadhyay’s rally, in the wake of rebel minister Rabindranath Bhattacharya’s outburst, would have sent out a wrong signal to the party ranks.