Kolkata: Trinamool Congress veteran leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who was assaulted recently in a factional clash and demanded punishment, on Sunday alleged Mamata Banerjee was surrounded by 'opportunists' many of whom had infiltrated into the party from other parties to gain material advantages.
"She is surrounded by opportunists. Those who have infiltrated into TMC from other parties with an eye for loaves and fishes were gaining. The new-comers in the party are engaged in syndicates (supply of construction materials)," Chattopadhyay, chief whip of the TMC legislature party and trade union leader, told a meeting of his supporters.
Chattopadhya's fresh salvo came on a day when TMC MP from Howrah district Ambika Banerjee shared a platform with new MoS for Railways Adhir Chowdhury, a bete noire of Mamata Banerjee, and showered praise on him, describing him as a "dynamic person".
Chattopadhya said Mamata Banerjee had herself spoken out against the practice of paying and accepting "cut money", sending a stern message for probity in party affairs. "She has identified the malaise and its medicine," Chattaopadhyay said.
He said the party could take appropriate decision against him, if it felt like it, but, however, added, "I was with Mamata Banerjee all through and will remain if he gets the respect".
He said he had been with the party supremo during the Nandigram movement when she was in the Opposition as also in the party programmes in Jangalmahal. TMC leader Ambika Banerjee referred to Adhir Chowdhury as a "dynamic person" and hoped "he would perform well as a railway minister".
Banerjee, a veteran TMC leader defended his attending the railway programmes today at the Howrah station (new complex) including the commencement of work for development of Santragachi as a major passenger terminal.
The TMC MP said that he attended the programme since it pertained to the development in his constituency. Asked if the TMC's losing Railway portfolio was a loss for West Bengal, he said it was a loss for the country.
The development came close on the heels of another TMC leader, an MLA, from Singur Rabindranath Bhattacherjee who is unhappy after his Agriculture portfolio was changed and has since rebelled against the party.
State Governor MK Narayanan on Thursday had expressed "deep concern" over the assault on veteran Trinamool Congress leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay on the Calcutta University campus and sought information on steps taken to prevent a recurrence of such episodes.
The chief minister has not still spoken on the issue.