‘It is not a Trinamool Congress office, but a place for government work’

The meeting convened by Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee in the State Secretariat and attended by the ruling party’s senior leaders, including some Ministers, on Wednesday, reportedly to discuss campaign plans for the upcoming rural polls has drawn severe flak from the Opposition because of the choice of venue.

Leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party were one in criticising the “misuse” of the seat of government for “party purposes.”

 Among those present at the meeting were the Trinamool’s all-India general secretary Mukul Roy, Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee and Transport Minister Madan Mitra.

Asked what transpired in the talks, Mr. Mukherjee told journalists that it was “totally a party meeting” and nothing “but the party line” in regard to the panchayat elections was discussed. Mr. Mitra said it was related to the rural polls.

 Mr. Roy, however, claimed that it was a meeting to discuss spending of MP Local Area Development Funds.

But what the Ministers had to say on the matter was given greater credence by the Opposition leaders.

“Writers’ Buildings [the State Secretariat] is not a Trinamool Congress office… It is the place for government work,” said Rabin Deb, a member of the CPI(M)’s State Secretariat.

“The Trinamool Congress in essence has obliterated the distinction between the party and the Government and the need of organisational expansion and control has become more important to it than the issue of administration and governance,” State Congress general secretary Omprakash Mishra said.

Criticising the act, BJP State president Rahul Sinha said the Trinamool Congress was misusing the State Secretariat. “We think this will harm the glory and reputation of Writers’ Buildings” he added.

 Mr. Deb said the meeting in the Chief Minister’s office was “to determine the tasks assigned to leaders of the Trinamool Congress in the different districts in view of the panchayat elections.”

 Referring to the meeting Prof. Mishra pointed out that though holding it at Writers’ Buildings “is in line with the infamous tradition of the Left Front government, the Trinamool Congress has taken it even further.”