Once again faction feud within Trinamool Congress (TMC) came to the fore in Durgapur yesterday (April 22). During a road show of the Bardhaman-Durgapur Trinamool candidate Mumtaz Sanghamita Choudhuri on Tuesday, she was prevented by a section of party supporters from entering several villages in Bardhaman’s Bhatar.
There has already been reports that nomination of Dr. Mumtaz Sanghamita Chowdhury as the party’s candidate for the Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha has angered many party workers. Even a section of Trinamool leaders and workers in Bardhaman has refused to campaign and write graffiti for Chowdhury, whose father had been one of the most prominent Left Front leaders.
Dr. Mumtaz Sanghamita was scheduled to campaign in Bijipur, Bijoypur, Palashon and their neighbouring villages yesterday that falls under the Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha constituency. Dr. Choudhuri was travelling in an open jeep with four other cars following her with nearly 100 party workers.
The 62-year-old physician was accompanied by Banamali Hazra, the Trinamool MLA from Bhatar and Kamal Som, the Bhatar block president.
When the convoy reached Bijipur village at around 12.30 pm, nearly 400 party workers from neighbouring villages, all followers of Hazra’s known rival in the party, Mangobindo Adhikari, a panchayat samiti functionary, surrounded Choudhuri’s jeep. They thumped on the bonnet and started shouting why Adhikari was not included in the campaign committee.
The Trinamool workers who were accompanying Dr, Choudhuri protested and this led to an altercation between the groups. Choudhuri, initially looked stunned, but later tried to pacify both factions. But when they did not listen, she slumped in the seat beside the driver of the jeep.
Hazra, too, tried to quieten Adhikari’s followers but some Trinamool workers belonging to the rival camp shouted “Banamali Hazra go back”. They also went up to Choudhuri and complained to her against Hazra.
Unable to pacify the Trinamool faction, Hazra instructed his followers to turn the convoy back and moved out of the area to campaign in Bhatar town.
Admitting that Choudhuri could not campaign in some villages, Hazra said: “What happened today is shameful for our party. I was accused of appointing only Trinamul leaders close to me in the campaign committee. But it is not true. Those who are in the campaign committee are very active party leaders and organisers. When they did not let us enter the villages, we went in another direction.”
When contacted, Mangobindo Adhikari said the Trinamool MLA of Bhatar is involving only party workers and leaders close to him in the campaign. “The Trinamool candidate was taken by the Bhatar MLA to campaign in the Bijipur, Bijoypur and Palashon areas from where I was elected to the Bhatar panchayat samiti. But the MLA did not have the courtesy to either involve me in the campaign or inform me,” said Adhikari.
The Bardhaman-Durgapur Trinamool Congress candidate, Dr. Sanghamita Chwodhury however, said that some Trinamool workers complained to her that they had been kept out of the campaign planning. “They were quite resentful about it. However, I will try to ensure that everybody is involved in the future,” she said.
Swapan Debnath, another prominent TMC leader of Bardhaman when contacted aid that he is still not aware about what exactly happened there.
Feud within TMC in Bardhaman-Durgapur can act as a spoiler for the party’s candidate in the upcoming Lok Sabha poll scheduled to be held here on 30 April.