Mamata tries to mollify Trinamool Congress veteran

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Friday stepped in to mollify aggrieved veteran party leader Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, who had threatened to quit after being assaulted by activists of a rival party faction at Calcutta University.

Banerjee called Chattopadhyay and heard him out on the incident.

“She requested me to ensure that my supporters do not take out any procession during the day to protest the assault on me. Since my supreme leader has made the request, as a disciplined soldier of the party I have decided to keep the procession on hold,” said Chattopadhay.

However, he told Banerjee and other leaders who spoke to him that they must condemn the incident. Otherwise, he would decide on his next step.

“I have told them that I have not done anything against the party’s interest. I have faith that some decision will be taken, some action will be initiated. If not, I will decide what step I can take in the future,” he said.

Chattopadhyay, a Trinamool Congress founder member and trade unionist, was its first lawmaker in West Bengal after the party was formed Jan 1, 1998.

Now the chief whip of the party in the state assembly, Chattopadhyay was heckled and assaulted on Tuesday by a group of Calcutta University employees who raised slogans hailing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Chattopadhyay had gone to the university to attend a party demonstration.

His outburst came close on the heels of Singur’s Trinamool Congress legislator and disgruntled minister Rabindranath Bhattacharya, who alleged that a section of his partymen indulged in extorting money from the people and Banerjee was aware of it.

Bhattacharya was recently shunted from agriculture to the statistics and programme implementation department, but refused to take up his new assignment.