Calcutta, Jan. 6: The alleged attack on CPM leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah is being seen as a fallout of the intense turf battle within the Trinamul Congress in South 24-Parganas where factions are trying to outdo each other in proving their loyalty to the ruling party.
Trinamul sources said Arabul Islam, the former party MLA accused of leading the mob this afternoon, had become “more aggressive these days” because he wanted to “re-establish his writ” on the Bhangar area.
The Arabul camp, on a sticky wicket since the Bhangar college ruckus and the jug controversy in April last year embarrassed Trinamul, was on the lookout for a spectacular display of its prowess, a source said.
Last April, Arabul had got involved in an altercation at Bhangar College and his flailing arms had sent a jug crashing into a lady teacher’s chin.
The Arabul camp’s objective had acquired a sense of urgency because of claims that rebel leader Mohammed Nanoo Hosain, who ensured the former MLA’s defeat in the last Assembly polls, had “got half a dozen party functionaries to rally behind him”.
Hossain, suspended from Trinamul after he fought the Bhangar Assembly seat as an Independent on being denied a party ticket, had bagged 10,353 votes. Arabul had lost to his CPM rival by 2,990 votes — the thin margin an indication that he would have won had Hossain not taken away over 10,000 anti-Left votes.
Hossain said tonight that several Trinamul leaders in the area had joined him to protest Arabul’s style of functioning. “Although I have been suspended, half a dozen functionaries are rallying behind me to protest Arabul’s way of functioning,” he said.
Hossain named several people, including a Trinamul pradhan, the husband of a pradhan and a block-level minority cell chief, and said they had “sided” with him. Trinamul sources backed Hossain’s claim but the claim could not be verified with those named.
A Trinamul state general secretary said tonight that chief minister Mamata Banerjee had “warned” Arabul against indulging in intra-party squabbles when she chaired a meeting of party leaders from South 24-Parganas in November.
“Mamata had chidedArabul for not working in tandem with other party workers. She had asked all those present to put up a united fight in the panchayat polls,” he said.
A Trinamul vice-president admitted that the infighting was hurting Trinamul in South 24-Parganas. “We snatched the zilla parishad from the Left in 2008. But we are in disarray there now because of the spurt in intra-party squabbles,” the leader said.
The party sources said the infighting had spread to adjoining Canning, Gosaba, Kultali and Sagar island.
C.M. Jatua, who replaced Sovan Chatterjee as the Trinamul district president in September, said tonight that he was “not kept posted on the developments in the district”.
The Trinamul sources said Arabul was making “relentless attempts” to claw back in Bhangar before the panchayat polls. “He is participating in many party-sponsored programmes,” a source said.
“Although Arabul does not hold any party post now, he comes forward whenever partymen are attacked. His alleged involvement in today’s incident was prompted by an arson attack on a party office by the CPM last night,” said Mahiuddin Sheikh, a Trinamul leader in Bhangar who was once close to Arabul.
CPM district secretary Sujan Chakraborty tonight expressed concern over the spurt in Trinamul terror. “Trinamul’s squabbles have reached such a pass in Bhangar that one faction is competing with another to terrorise people and attack political adversaries,” he said.