Mukul-Mamata standoff intensifies, Mukul's son lashes out at leadership

 The deteriorating relations between Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and her one-time second in command, party national general secretary Mukul Roy, sunk to a new low Friday with Roy`s son lashing out against the leadership, which immediately retaliated by threatening strong disciplinary action against him.

Kolkata: The deteriorating relations between Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and her one-time second in command, party national general secretary Mukul Roy, sunk to a new low Friday with Roy`s son lashing out against the leadership, which immediately retaliated by threatening strong disciplinary action against him.

In an explosive interview to a private television channel, state legislator Subhrangshu Roy said he would stand by his father, who was facing "insult".

"Mamata Banerjee made me a candidate. I joined Trinamool as she asked me. But my father`s insult comes before all. Surely, I will stand by my father. The matter stands at that," said the lawmaker from Bijpur assembly constituency in North 24 Parganas.

But what riled the top leadership was Subhrangshu`s comments, indirectly referring to the Trinamool finishing second in the Bhowanipore assembly segment represented by the party supremo in last year`s Lok Sabha polls.

Amid reports of the Trinamool leadership planning to probe "sabotage" and holding him responsible for the reduction in the party`s margin from the Kalyani assembly segment in the recently concluded Bongaon Lok Sabha by-polls, Subhrangshu Roy said: "I was never given the responsibility of Kalyani. So how can I be held responsible?

"It is not my assembly constituency. And for argument`s sake, if still they hold me responsible, I will say at least we won the seat, though the margin was down."

He then listed the names of several assembly segments where Trinamool candidates had trailed in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and then mentioned South Kolkata.

"Even in South Kolkata, we lost in one constituency. So those should be probed also. No one is above the party. For the probe to be impartial, it has to be all-embracing," he added.

The only assembly segment from where the BJP candidate from South Kolkata Lok Sabha seat Tathagatha Roy had led in last general election was Bhowanipore.

Subhrangshu Roy also took on Banerjee for asking a journalist earlier this week to put a poser on Mukul Roy not to her, but to any of the party block presidents.

"I feel proud of my father. He is the only leader who knows at least one party worker in all 77,000 booths of the state. So even block presidents know my father close enough to talk about him."

To a query whether the Mukul Roy era has come to an end in Trinamool, Subhrangshu Roy said: "Time will say. People know what was Trinamool`s condition in 2004 (when it won only one Lok Sabha seat) and 2006 (when the party performed miserably in the assembly election). They also know how the party grew after that and who were the leaders."

However, he said there was no possibility of either he or his father quitting Trinamool.

"I believe my father is being insulted. But this is my father`s party. He will take a decision. Let`s see if we can be in the party with dignity. But there is no question of us leaving Trinamool."

Immediately after his comments were aired on television, Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee told a hurriedly convened media meet that the party`s disciplinary committee has take note of the legislator`s comments which appeared to be a "breach of the party`s discipline and party line".

He said the party`s disciplinary committee deliberated on the comments and would meet again after three days.

"We won`t tolerate any anti-party activity. No one will be spared if any intent of anti-party activity is found."

Mukul Roy, a former railway minister, has seemingly fallen out with Banerjee after his interrogation by the CBI in connection with the multi-crore-rupee Saradha ponzi scam.

Roy, a founding member of the Trinamool, has distanced himself from the party and shied away from attacking the BJP over the past few weeks.

Credited as the architect of the Trinamool`s stunning electoral victories in recent years, Roy played a minor role in Friday`s by-poll to Bongaon Lok Sabha and Krishnaganj assembly constituencies.

Last week, Banerjee effected a series of organisational reshuffles in what is being termed as a move to clip Roy`s wings.

Banerjee had also questioned Roy`s absence from a closed door meeting and complained that he was not carrying out his duties or responding to her summons.

On Wednesday, Trinamool spokesperson Derek O`Brien said Roy was not the No.2 leader in the party, and though he was occupying a post, he had no responsibility.

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