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Fair-&-free chant in red and green camps Congress suspends six more rebel candidates

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  • Published 19.04.11

Calcutta, April 18: The Congress today suspended six more rebels contesting as Independents and urged the Trinamul Congress to “reciprocate”, a call that left the latter bristling and denying it had any such candidates.

The Congress had earlier suspended 13 dissidents who too were contesting as Independents against Trinamul candidates. The six handed the punishment today include two sitting legislators — Ram Pyare Ram and Abdul Khalek Molla. The remaining four are from Nadia.

“We have suspended six dissidents today for contesting as Independents after being denied tickets. We have already taken the disciplinary action against 19 party leaders and functionaries. We want Trinamul to likewise suspend those party candidates who are contesting against our nominees,” state Congress chief Manas Bhuniya said at a news conference in Press Club this afternoon.

Told that Mamata Banerjee had already suspended two Trinamul rebels for contesting against alliance candidates, Bhuniya said: “That is not enough. Trinamul rebels are in the fray in other places too.” The Congress leader, however, did not identify the constituencies from where such candidates were contesting.

A Trinamul general secretary challenged Bhuniya to name the seats where Trinamul rebels were contesting against the Congress.

“Let Manas name a single seat. No Trinamul candidate is contesting against the Congress anywhere in the state,” he said.

Mamata has publicly suspended Asok Mondal and Tapas Saha so far. While Mondal is apparently backing Fazle Haque, a Congress dissident contesting as an Independent from Cooch Behar's Dinhata, Saha is contesting as an Independent against the Trinamul candidate in Tehatta.

Congress sources said that by suspending six more dissidents, the leadership was trying to send a “stern message” to Adhir Chowdhury, Deepa Das Munshi and Shankar Singh who have been backing such rebels as Independents in Murshidabad, North Dinajpur and Nadia.

Of the 19 suspended dissidents, 12 have been from these three districts. The sources said Nadia Congress chief Singh was backing the four dissidents who were suspended today as he was “unhappy” with Mamata offering only one out of the 17 seats in the district to the party.

Asked if the high command was considering disciplinary action against Deepa, Chowdhury and Singh, Bhuniya did not give a direct reply. “They are respectable leaders. We are keeping watch on them and have sought reports from our local leadership.”

AICC sources said it was “unlikely” that any action would be taken against Chowdhury and Deepa "considering the political clout they enjoy in their respective districts".