TMC ministers get engaged in ugly verbal spat; cautioned by party

Two Trinamool Congress ministers were on Thursday allegedly locked in a verbal duel at a programme in Malda  to distribute land rights, prompting party leadership to caution them.

Minister of Refugee Rehabilitation Department Sabitri Mitra arranged the programme to distribute land rights (patta) to the refugees living at Old Malda and English Bazar sub-divisions. While the pattas were being distributed among the beneficiaries, Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury, Minister for Food Processing, allegedly stormed on to the stage and asked the sub-divisional officers present there as to why the programme was convened without informing him.

Chowdhury said neither he nor the local councillor was informed about the programme and claimed pattas could not be distributed in this manner. Mitra however defended the move to distribute pattas and said Chowdhury was “apprised” of it. “He (Krishnendu Chowdhury) threatened the officers. Why did he have to do it? I had informed him”, she said.

Later the programme resumed without distribution of land rights to the beneficiaries of the English Bazar municipality. As visuals of the verbal spat between the two ministers went viral on television and the Internet, the party top leadership took exception and asked MP Subhendu Adhikari, who is the observer for the district to talk to the two ministers and caution them.

The recurring incidents of internal bickering in the Trinamool Congress had forced party chief Mamata Banerjee to caution leaders on December 12, asking them to focus instead on development programme.