Open dissidence in Trinamool: MPs, rebel lawmaker share dais

Kolkata, Sep 20 (IANS) In signs that all is not well within West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress, three of its MPs Friday shared the dais with a dissident legislator and made points not palatable to the leadership - which hit back by slapping show-cause notices on the trio.

Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh went to the extent of saying he was being made a victim of the Saradha controversy by those involved with the scam and apprehended he could be killed by those trying to hush the issue.

Ghosh also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the Saradha scam where thousands of small-time depositors lost their life's savings by parking their hard-earned funds in the company's schemes lured by its high interest rates.

The Saradha boss Sudipta Sen and his aides are now behind bars after the company closed shop in April unable to pay back the depositors, causing embarrassment to Trinamool, with some of its leaders including Ghosh perceived to be close to Sen.

Ghosh headed Sen's media units, which were known for steadfastly supporting Trinamool and its supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Beside Ghosh, Trinamool MPs Tapas Pal and Shatabdi Roy addressed the rally in the city alongside rebel legislator Shikha Mitra, whose husband and Lok Sabha member Somen Mitra was also present. Somen Mitra's loyalty to the party has also long been questioned.

Trinamool national general secretary Mukul Roy said the party's disciplinary committee met in the evening and decided to show cause Ghosh, Roy and Pal for "anti-party activity" and for hurting its image. "The letter would be served on them within a couple of days, he said.

In an apparent attack on the party leadership, Ghosh said: "The burden of the Saradha scam has been put on my shoulders. Those who have been firing from my shoulders, I won't concede an inch to them. I won't allow them to hush it up."

"I have already said I am ready to face probe by any agency. I have full confidence in the detective department of police. I had also earlier written a letter saying I have no problem if the CBI is asked to investigate the case. Let those whose names figure be probed," said Ghosh, who was earlier quizzed in connection to the scam - considered the biggest to hit the state.

He also apparently questioned the honesty of the leadership. "There is a limit to honesty. I have never uttered a word which can embarrass the party. If you ever hear that Kunal has been murdered, you can be sure that I have been murdered by those who want to hush up the Saradha controversy."

Accusing a section of the leadership of ignoring those who had joined the party before its heyday, Ghosh said: "They think those who had joined TMC without any self-interest, let them stay away."

"Let Mamata Banerjee remain fine for long years. But we have tried to convince the people... But taking a decision is up to the people themselves."

Turning to leading Bengali actors Pal and Roy and veteran leader Somen Mitra, Ghosh said: "The person who tried to corner Pal in the industry... the leader who does not give respect to Somen Mitra, one who is jealous of Shatabdi Roy, their only aim now is to remain close to Mamata Banerjee and the top Trinamool leadership".

On the aerotropolis project at Burdwan district's Andal, a day after Banerjee named the airport there, Ghosh said: "If the Singur project (Banerjee's anti-land acquisition movement was launched in Singur where the erstwhile Left front government took land for farmers for a car project of Tata Motors) was wrong, then the Andal project cannot be right."

Roy, a famed Bengali film actress, praised Shikha Mitra, who has fallen out with the leadership for over a year.

"I don't know how long she (Mitra) is in politics. But she definitely has the guts to speak the truth."

Pal also praised Mitra and aired views not to the liking of the party leadership.

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