Minority face of Trinamool turns rebel, to skip crucial party meeting today

by IANS |

Kolkata, March 17 (IANS) Veteran minority face of Trinamool Congress and 11-time elected MLA from Islampur Assembly constituency in West Bengal's North Dinajpur district since 1967, Abdul Karim Chowdhary, seems to have turned rebel.

He has decided to skip the crucial meeting of the party at Kolkata on Friday afternoon to be chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to finalise the strategy for the forthcoming polls for the three-tier panchayat system in the state.

"The main agenda of the meeting is the forthcoming panchayat polls. The party high- command will give instructions there. There is no scope to say anything. So, I will not be attending the meeting," Chowdhary said.

To recall, Chowdhary also did not attend a meeting of the North Dinajpur district core committee meeting on Wednesday which was convened by the party's district president Kanaia Lal Agarwal, with whom Chowdhary's differences surfaced a number of times in the recent past.

Recently, Chowdhary had even threatened to resign as a party MLA. However, the very next day he said that he will continue to be in Trinamool Congress but as a rebel legislator.

Chowdhary had publicly demanded that Agarwal should be removed from the post of party's district president as the latter was allegedly the main brain to fuel infighting within the party in the district.

Friday's meeting of the party to be organised at the chief minister's residence in south Kolkata is crucial on multiple counts considering the crisis faced by the party on different fonts.

Party sources said that one important agenda of the meeting will be the recently concluded bypolls in Sagardighi Assembly constituency in Murshidabad district, which Trinamool Congress lost to Congress by a margin of over 20,000 votes. Sagardighi being a thoroughly minority-dominated constituency and a traditional Trinamool Congress stronghold, the results have kept the party leadership worried, considering it as a signal of the beginning of the erosion in its dedicated minority vote bank.

Another important agenda of the meeting will be Birbhum district and how the party's organisation there would operate for the panchayat polls in absence of its district president Anubrata Mondal, who is currently in Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody in New Delhi for his alleged involvement in the cattle smuggling scam.

The third important agenda, according to sources, will be on how to counter the charges of corruption, especially as regards to the multi-crore teachers recruitment irregularities scam in which several party leaders, including the former state education minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee, are currently in judicial custody.

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