Singur MLA attacks agriculture minister
Continuing his tirade against Trinamool Congress, Singur legislator Rabindranath Bhattacharya Wednesday accused West Bengal Minister of State for Agriculture Becharam Manna of being close to a businessman who was against the party's anti-Nano car factory agitation.
Manna, a peasant leader, who emerged as the grassroots level face of the Mamata Banerjee-led movement against Tata Motors' small car plant in Hooghly district's Singur village, was recently made the minister of state for agriculture in the place of Bhattacharya.
Bhattacharya was shunted out to the low-key statistics and programme implementation department a few days ago.
"I have allegations from party workers against Manna. The main allegation was that he regularly went to meet a businessman who was against our Singur movement and was a supporter of the Tatas."
"They (party workers) asked why he visited the person's house, whose stand was against our (Singur) movement? I had asked him (Manna) to give a suitable reply. He replied but it failed to convince me," Bhattacharya told reporters in Singur.
Manna, however, said Bhattacharya's other allegation that a section of Trinamool Congress supporters was engaged in extortion was wrong.
"He is a respected and honest leader but his allegations are wrong. If he felt that some partymen are involved in extorting money, he should have informed the leadership," Manna told reporters Tuesday evening.
Bhattacharya's attack also comes at a time when a large number of Singur farmers, who had not accepted the cheques given by the erstwhile Left Front government for their lands acquired for the car project, are facing hard times.
Taken aback by Bhattacharya's revolt and apprehensive of its fallout in Singur in the panchayat polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered shifting the venue of a Nov 30 administrative meeting in Hooghly district from headquarters Chinsurah to the block development office in Singur.
She too will attend the meeting and address a rally in Singur.
Bhattacharya Wednesday said he received a call from Banerjee to be present at the administrative meeting.
"However, I have not yet received any invitation letter. I'll decide after getting the letter," he said.