Amidst the flurry of dissenting notes from within the Trinamool Congress, the party leadership has issued an order asking important party functionaries and ministers to seek permission in advance from the party before speaking to the media.
Ironically, Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee, who issued the diktat on behalf of the party and has been assigned as the sole authority from whom the leaders have to seek permission to speak to the media, on Tuesday spoke against the party’s decision to not invite Opposition leaders to an administrative meeting in Purulia that was chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Replying to a question on why opposition leaders were not called for the meeting, Chatterjee admitted it should not have been done. “The CPM never showed courtesy to the opposition (when it was in power) and never invited the opposition to the meetings. But I believe we (Trinamool Congress) should not do the same,” Chatterjee said.
At Monday’s meeting at Purulia, leaders of the opposition parties, including the CPM were first invited by the officials of the Chief Minister’s Office to attend the administrative meeting. However, at the last minute, they were told not to attend the meeting which was chaired by the CM.
Though Chatterjee’s disagreement may not be very sharp, but it is rare that to hear such voices in the Trinamool Congress.
Meanwhile, the party’s gag diktat has been issued in the wake of open dissent shown by two seniormost MLAs of the party — chief whip Sovandeb Chattopadhyay and former minister Rabindranath Bhattacharjee — as they questioned the party leadership’s decisions and also made allegations of corruption against a section of leaders.
Chatterjee sent a SMS to party leaders on Monday informing them about the new diktat. “As advised by the party, you are requested not to attend any electronic media without prior clearance from the party. For obtaining such clearance from the party , plz, SMS to Shri Partha Chatterjee, MIC, parliamentary affairs,” (sic) read the SMS sent by Chatterjee.
Sources said the recent comments made by a few party leaders have embarrassed the leadership. “Leaders are engaged in mudslinging. This cannot be allowed to continue,” a senior party MP said.