Kolkata: Dismissing speculations of his cosying up with rival BJP, senior Trinamool Congress leader Sabyasachi Dutta Sunday said he remained a “loyal soldier” of the party and accused the saffron brigade of trying to create confusion ahead of the general elections.
Dutta, who is also the mayor of Bidhannagar, met BJP leader Mukul Roy at his residence in Salt Lake on Friday, that had led to the speculation.
The TMC leadership, however, said that Dutta has accepted his mistake of hosting a BJP leader at his residence at a time when the two parties are heading for a showdown in the polls in the state.
The speculations gained ground after Dutta on Saturday decided to skip the party’s North 24 Pargans district committee meeting.
Furious at the development, TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had asked senior party leaders Firhad Hakim and Jyotipriyo Mullick to convene a meeting of councillors of Bidhanagar Municipal Corporation to discuss the matter.
“I am a loyal soldier of TMC and Mamata Banerjee. On Friday, (Mukul) Roy all of a sudden came to meet me, as I had known him since his days in TMC I couldn’t say no to him. But I was not aware that he had also informed the media about his visit to my place and had placed camera persons outside my house. He deliberately wanted to create a confusion,” Dutta said after a meeting with the councillors.
Dutta claimed that the two did not discuss a single word about politics. “We spoke about cricket,” he said. Hakim said Roy, ahead of the elections, was deliberately trying to create chaos as the party doesn’t have the right candidates to fight the Lok Sabha polls in the state.
“Just like a beggar a senior leader of BJP is knocking at every door with a request to contest the polls. We are all soldiers of Mamata Banerjee, we beleive in the principles of Mahatama Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, unlike BJP which believes in ideology of those who killed Gandhiji,” Hakim said.
According to sources, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Dola Sen on Sunday went to Dutta’s residence to discuss the matter and enquired about the entire sequence of events. Later, Hakim and Mullick also spoke to Dutta.
It was only after Dutta’s assurance that he was asked to come and attend the meeting of TMC councillors and leaders.
Dutta, also an MLA of Rajarhat Newtown, was known as a loyalist of the latter during his days in TMC. Roy was once the number two in TMC but switched over to the BJP camp in 2017 following alleged differences with party chief Mamata Banerjee.
Dutta had stayed back in Banerjee’s party even as Roy became a rebel. Dutta is considered to be quite influential in North 24 Parganas’ Dum Dum and Barasat Lok Sabha constituencies, both of which are adjacent to Kolkata.
Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation is the local governing body responsible for civic infrastructure of Salt Lake and Newtown satellite cities.
In the last two months, several TMC leaders, including sitting Lok Sabha MP from Bishnupur, Soumitra Khan, had switched over to the BJP. The TMC leadership of late has been reaching out to its disgruntled leaders to thwart any “poaching” bid by the BJP ahead of the general elections.