Abhishek cautions party workers against violence during TMC mass outreach campaign


Cooch Behar: Senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee on Wednesday cautioned a section of party workers against using strong-arm tactics to manipulate public opinion on selecting candidates for the West Bengal panchayat polls during its mass outreach programme.

His remarks came a day after the inaugural day of the much-touted mass outreach campaign was marred by ruckus as infighting within the TMC came out in the open over the secret ballot voting process as two groups came down to blows during the event.

Banerjee, the TMC national general secretary, said those opposed to the programme, ‘Trinamool-ey Nabajowar’ (new wave in Trinamool), are free to leave the party.

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Miffed over the incident, Banerjee had said the secret voting process would be conducted again there on Wednesday and cautioned that if some people think they can hijack the process of candidate selection through muscle power, “They are living in a fool’s paradise.”

While addressing a rally at Cooch Behar Dakshin constituency on the second day of his tour, he said, “If some people think that by multiple requests or by ensuring more votes through unfair means, they can secure their candidature, they are wrong,”

Banerjee, considered number two in the TMC, said the campaign would empower people to choose their own candidates through a secret ballot, whom the party would give nominations in the panchayat polls.

“Those unhappy with the programme are free to leave the party. We don’t want rotten elements in our party. One of the aims of this campaign is to cleanse the Panchayati Raj system,” he said.

Hitting out at BJP legislators from Cooch Behar district for not fighting for people’s rights in the area, Banerjee said locals must gherao the houses of such public representatives and seek answers.

“The BJP MLAs don’t fight for the rights of the people. They sport saffron tilak, wear a saffron scarf, enter the Assembly raising Jai Shri Ram slogans, and leave it shouting the same. People must gherao the houses of those who were elected from here as they have not worked for the people,” he said.

Banerjee, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said that in the next two months, he will be staying on the streets and travelling more than 3500 km – from Cooch Behar in the northern part of the state to Kakdwip in the southern.

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( With inputs from )

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