Trinamul hunts for motive

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  • Published 22.06.13

Trinamul leaders sought to put on a brave face following Friday’s rally and attributed a political motive to the march.

The rally, attended by more than 10,000 people to protest the rising incidence of crimes against women, was dubbed “motivated” by industries minister and Trinamul secretary-general Partha Chatterjee.

“Tell me what purpose would the rally serve? The government has already taken necessary action (in regard to the Kamduni gang rape and murder). This rally was organised to stall development,” Chatterjee said.

While the minister publicly criticised the organisers, others in the party tried their best — overtly or covertly — to ensure a low turnout.

Sabyasachi Dutta, Trinamul MLA from Rajarhat New Town, had spent significant time at Kamduni village over the past two days, trying to persuade villagers through local party supporters to stay away from the march.

Some members of Trinamul’s culture clan launched a campaign over the phone to try and convince fellow members about the “politically motivated” nature of the rally.

A section in the clan claimed success pointing at the absence of Bibhas Chakraborty, Koushik Sen and Aparna Sen from the march and the subsequent gathering in Metro Channel. All three, however, had attended a meeting called by the rally organisers at College Square on Thursday.

Theatre director-actor Shaoli Mitra, who had taken a lead role in the November 14, 2007, march against Nandigram atrocities, said she did not see any reason to join Friday’s rally.

“I don’t understand why this (protest march) was organised…. In Tapasi Malik’s case, the administration did not take any action. The culprits are yet to be arrested. In the Kamduni case, arrests have been made and trial by a fast-track court has been promised,” Mitra said, echoing the Trinamul line.

Party insiders, however, privately admitted that poet-author Sankha Ghosh’s call to join the rally had made the leadership jittery.

Trinamul sources said party leaders had planned to organise a rally to counter “false campaign” launched by opposition parties and a section of writers, poets and actors. But the move failed as many of those who had been approached turned down the suggestion.

Some Trinamul leaders think it would have been a disaster had the party gone ahead with the plan. “As it is we have been facing criticism for whatever is happening in the state. Had we tried to counter spontaneous protests, it would have backfired,” said a leader.

Several Trinamul leaders admitted that the rally was a pointer to the people’s growing disenchantment with the government. “The inept handling of the Kamduni situation and out-of-turn remarks by the chief minister have made matters worse for the party,” said a minister.