Debajyoti Chakraborty, TNN Nov 8, 2013, 05.50AM IST
KATWA: On July 17, ahead of the panchayat polls, Trinamool Congress's Birbhum district chief Anubrata Mondal had asked people to burn the houses of independent candidates and beat up policemen if they came to their rescue. The result — large-scale arson and the alleged murder of a rebel Trinamool candidate's father, Hriday Ghosh.
On Wednesday, Anubrata stepped beyond Birbhum, and threatened in Katwa: "If Congress workers continue to tear flex and hoardings of chief minister Mamata Banerjee or beat up Trinamool supporters, our supporters will cut off the wrists of the Congress workers."
On Thursday, the party's national secretary Mukul Roy backed the formidable Trinamool boss in Birbhum. "This is symbolic. It does not mean that Trinamool will attack or kill anyone," he said. Roy also tried to draw Gandhiji's parallel, though it wasn't clear what he meant by it.
Earlier in July, the chief minister tried to defend Anubrata in the Assembly saying , "What is his fault? He has already clarified to the DM (district magistrate) that he did not mean what he said." Anubrata had then said it was a slip of tongue. The clean chit from his party supremo didn't give any succour to Anubrata then. A Birbhum court that ticked off police for not doing its job tagged non-bailable charges against him.
The script is the same this time around. Three Congress leaders of Katwa, including the Katwa Municipality vice chairman, switched ranks to Trinamool Congress in Kolkata on Thursday. In 2009, Congress had swept the Katwa municipal polls 19-0 . Trinamool has been eyeing for a toehold in the Katwa Municipality. Anubrata is also a Trinamool observer for Burdwan, and hence is steering the party's efforts here.
Katwa Municipality vice chairman Amar Ram, former councillors Samindranath Banerjee and Jony Choudhury joined Trinamool on Thursday. Amar claimed that since 1995, the Congress-run Katwa civic board didn't take up any development work. He also complained of Congress workers attacking their supporters that triggered Anubrata's sharp retort. Rabindra Nath Chatterjee, Katwa's Congress MLA, said that he is not bothered what Anubrata Mondal has said. "We have strong base here and such threats will have little effect," he claimed.
Now consider this. Minister of state for railways Adhir Chowdhury had said a near-similar statement in a public rally in Berhampore on October 27. Adhir had then said, "You (Trinamool and police) like to threaten us. But we don't care. I will smash your heads if you try to terrorize my party supporters and activists." This prompted Murshidabad district magistrate Y Ratnakar Rao to report about it to the State Election Commission ( SEC) on November 1. The police then lodged a case under section 171C of the IPC (undue influence at elections ) and Adhir had to appear in court and take bail.
Anubrata, however, is luckier.
Cut off Congressmen's hands: Anubrata