Nandigram: Sidelined Trinamool Congress MP and its former national general secretary Mukul Roy was on Saturday prevented from entering Nandigram by party workers as he sought to lead a separate march.
Roy did not participate in the annual martyrs rally organised by TMC-backed Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) at Bangabera and led a separate march to Nandigram much to the discomfiture of the party leadership.
His unescorted convoy was, however, stopped on Tekhali bridge when he tried to cross over to Nandigram along with TMC MLA Seuli Saha and some of his followers.
TMC workers present there shouted slogans in support of party MP Subhendhu Adhikari, regarded as the face of the anti-farmland acquisition agitation by peasants in Nandigram, and jostled with Roy’s followers who were outnumbered.
As TMC workers carrying black flags shouted slogans of ‘Mukul Roy go back’, he alighted from his car and went on foot to Sherkhan Chowk at the border of Nandigram in East Midnapur district.
Roy made a couple of more attempts to enter Nandigram but was similarly obstructed.
Trinamool Congress observes martyrs’ day every year at Nandigram on March 14 to condemn the killing of 14 persons in the 2007 police firing as they opposed forcible land acquisition.
The rally at Bangabera today was attended by several party leaders including Adhikari and ministers Partha Chatterjee and Firhad Hakim.
Chatterjee, who is TMC secretary-general and state Education Minister took a dig at Roy’s attempts to march to Nandigram and questioned why he did not go to Bangabera where the BPUC had organised the ‘Sahid Divas’ programme.
“I do not know why he did not come to Bangabera. When thousands of party workers could attend the party programme why he did not? … He (Roy) is still a member of the party. He has not yet left the party.
“Did he (Roy) inform the police (about his coming)? We do not know why he came and went back. This is the party programme (at Bangabera). If he tells the party (regarding the obstruction caused to him), the party will take steps”, Chatterjee told reporters.
Roy, who has been removed as TMC all-India general secretary after his supposed fallout with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said he was witness to each incident during the Nandigram movement.
He said after Operation Suryodaya (armed recapture of the area by the then ruling CPI-M) in November 2007, the CPI(M) had tried to enforce a blockade of Nandigram which did not succeed.
“One cannot be restricted this way,” Roy said.
He said Subhendu Adhikari (known to be his detractor) had played a big role in the Nandigram movement.
“Definitely Mamata Banerjee had a role in the movement,” he said, adding during one of her visits along with him at the height of the movement three bullets had once fallen near them.
Roy said he had met senior BJP leader L K Advani secretly in November 2007 when an NDA team was to reach the village after Operation Suryodaya in November 2007.
After being questioned by CBI in the Saradha scam on January 30, Roy had said he would cooperate fully with the agency to unearth where the money went, virtually contradicting Banerjee’s stand that CBI probe into Saradha was political vendetta by BJP.
Roy had also obliquely accused Mamata Banerjee government of shedding “crocodile tears” for the minority community though he did not name her or the party.
TMC recently did not rule out issuing a show-cause notice to Roy for embarrassing it and the government with his critical comments. A top TMC leader even said the matter was being dealt with “seriously”.
Mamata Banerjee was stated to have asked party MP Derek O’Brien to prepare a dossier on Roy’s comments made from time to time.
The report is likely to be used for further action against Roy.
Earlier this week, Chatterjee in a strong message to Roy had said TMC was keeping a close watch on him as he was picking up issues to embarrass it and the government.
TMC minister Partha Chatterjee had also said whether Roy remains in TMC or not, depends on the party.
Roy, a Rajya Sabha MP has also been dropped from the working committee and from the position of leader of TMC in Rajya Sabha.
Banerjee was quoted by party insiders as accusing the BJP at a recent meeting, of pressuring TMC leaders to split it.