Asansol: Two groups belong to the Trinamool had a free-for-all at the Asansol town party office on Sunday in the presence of state labour minister Moloy Ghatak.
The minister had called a meeting to elect two party block presidents, but the script seemed to unfold differently. Expelled Trinamool leader Dilip Sonkar, who contested the Asansol Municipal Corporation polls as an independent candidate last October, made a comeback to the party, along with his associates on Sunday.
This apparently upset ward 44 councillor Uma Sharaf and her supporters. Sharaf was the party’s official candidate in the ward, from which Dilip had contested. She had secured 1,623 votes, while Sonkar came fourth, securing merely 658 votes.
As Sonkar came to attend the meeting, Sharaf staged a protest outside the party office, demanded he should not be included in the party.
She later alleged that she had been assaulted and lodged a complaint at the Asansol South police station.
But in spite of her protest, Ghatak loyalists, including his younger brother, Abhijeet Ghatak, councillors Gurudas (Rocket) Chatterjee, Animesh Das and Kalyan Dasgupta, went ahead with the meeting, reportedly inviting Sharaf’s anger towards the minister.
Ghatak later told that many Trinamool leaders had deserted the party ahead of the civic polls after being denied a ticket. “But now, the party leadership has decided that if any candidate wants to return, we will take them back. This will only strengthen the party ahead of the assembly polls,” he said.Refusing to give in to Uma’s boisterous protests, the minister argued, “Where is the problem in taking them back. Earlier leaders like Rabiul Islam, Javed Iqbal, Haki Naseem Ansari has also been taken back then there has been no hue and cry then why now,” he asked.
Ghatak’s view, however, wasn’t shared by the party’s district leadership.
V Sivadasan, Trinamool’s Asansol district president claimed that he had been kept dark about this inclusion. “I had no knowledge about Dilip returning to the party. I did not receive any official instruction from the party leadershipI am out of Asansol. Let me come back and then I will discuss the matter with party observer and minister of youth affairs and sports, Aroop Biswas,” he added.
Despite chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s repeated warnings factional fueds within Trinamool Congress continue to mar all the seven assembly constituencies which make up the Asansol Lok Sabha segment. In the immediate aftermath of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the chief minister had dropped Ghatak from the state cabinet after the loss of Dola Sen. Ghatak was later inducted back, though it has done little to salvage the factionalism bleeding the party.