Day after diktat of TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee, panchayat head quits

Kolkata: The head of a panchayat in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district on Sunday resigned from her post following the directive of Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, but claimed that the senior leader was misled by her rivals in the party.

TMC sources said that two other office bearers of Marisda gram panchayat also quit as asked by Banerjee who is considered number two in the party.

While going to a rally site at Contai in the district on Saturday, Banerjee suddenly made a detour and visited Marisda. After talking to some aggrieved people, he directed Jhumurani Mondal, the pradhan of the gram panchayat, and two of her deputies to resign within 48 hours for alleged discrimination against poor SC/ST villagers.

“They (villagers) told me that they don’t even have a roof over their heads, and when it rains, the accumulated water stays for months. They had complained to the pradhan and her deputies, but their problem was not addressed,” the Diamond Harbour MP had said.

Asserting that development took place in the area during her tenure, Mondal blamed her “rival group” within the party for misleading Banerjee.

“It was a conspiracy by some people to frame me,” she told reporters adding that it was not the panchayat pradhan who prepared the list of beneficiaries of state and central projects.

Mondal asked, “How can I allot money to those who are not included in the list?”

Senior state BJP leader Rahul Sinha described Banerjee’s outburst as an “eyewash.”

“If Abhishek Banerjee interacts with a cross-section of people across West Bengal, he will have the same experience. With panchayat polls round the corner, he has resorted to this eyewash as people have turned against the TMC leaders,” Sinha said.

The Panchayat election is due in the state early next year.

Countering Sinha, TMC state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “Our leader Abhishek Banerjee has shown that the party will not hesitate to take strong action when it comes to the issue of coming to the service of common people, the poor and needy.”

Ghosh also alleged that Mondal was nominated as a panchayat election candidate when Suvendu Adhikari was in-charge of Purba Medinipur district.

Adhikari, the BJP’s Nandigram MLA, was with the TMC before joining the saffron camp in December 2020 ahead of last year’s assembly election.

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