No compromise with discipline, Mamata warns party rebels

Kolkata, Sep 30 (IANS) Issuing a stern warning apparently aimed at rebel party MPs, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Monday said the party will not compromise on disciplinary issues.

"There are one or two people, not many, who win elections riding on Trinamool's shoulders, but when their pension is assured, and the next election draws near, they say 'I am bigger than the party'. People will decide who is bigger," Banerjee remarked without naming anyone during her address at a party programme here.

Asserting that the party was "rough and tough" on such issues, she said: "There will be no compromise on discipline, no compromise on building the party."

Banerjee's comments at the Trinamool's extended general council meeting came in the wake of the rebellion by Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh, who lashed out against the party while speaking at a blood donation camp Sep 20.

The journalist-turned MP, who has been grilled by police multiple times in connection with Saradha chit fund scam, spoke out against the party leadership Sep 20, alleging he was being made a scapegoat by those involved in the scam, and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.

The Trinamool Saturday announced it has suspended Ghosh on grounds of discipline, while sparing two Lok Sabha members - Tapas Pal and Satabdi Roy - who had also spoken against the party leadership at the same event.

Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee said Pal and Roy had apologised in writing to Banerjee.

But there seemed no end to the rebellion as another veteran leader and Lok Sabha member, Somen Mitra, believed to be the rallying point for the rebels, openly backed Ghosh.

Supporting Ghosh's contention that he was punished without a trial, Mitra said even convicts getting capital punishment were given lot of opportunities to defend themselves.

Speaking at the party programme Monday, Banerjee said the party will not take responsibility if any leader made money illegally.

"If some people collect money for themselves illegally, the party will not take responsibility. The party did not ask him to collect money. In such cases, the law will run its course."

Describing the grassroot level Trinamool workers as assets, she said: "The party has reached its present position only because of their dedication and struggles. The workers who have been with the party since it was formed are still toiling tirelessly."

"Whoever has become ministers, or MPs, MLAs, mayors - they should know they have become what they are today because of the struggles waged by the workers."

Banerjee also urged party leaders and activists not to become conceited and arrogant in their dealings with the masses and refrain from internal bickering.

"Everybody must do their own duty, and not cross their briefs. You must abide by the 'laxmanrekha'."

"Just because we have come to power, we should not enjoy and let the Communist Party of India-Marxist return to power," she added.

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