Trinamool faces revolt within, anger outside

Mamata BanerjeeA year and a half after sweeping to power in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress seems to be facing schisms within the party as well as disenchantment outside.

On Wednesday, the state's new minister of state for agriculture Becharam Manna faced angry protests from farmers who had supported the anti-Tata movement at Singur but who are now tiring of waiting for government sops and the return of their land.
"We want money for the land taken away from us for the Nano car factory. We have waited for one and a half years (since TMC came to power in the state) to get the compensation, but we don't even hear about it anymore. We are now left begging," people from Singur told Manna, a Trinamool Congress MLA from Haripal in the district who was closely associated with the Singur agitation.

The Trinamool Congress, led by Mamata Banerjee, had launched a campaign in 2007 in Singur against the Left Front's acquisition of farm land for setting up a car manufacturing plant by Tata Motors. Popular support for the agitation was a key reason for the party winning the election after decades of Leftist rule; but with a case between the state and Tata Motors lingering on in court, the farmers are left with neither land nor money compensation.

At the same time, two influential party legislators - Rabindranath Bhattacharya and Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay from Singur and Rashbehari Avenue, Kolkata respectively - have raised the banner of revolt against Mamata Banerjee's leadership.

Bhattacharya, who was last week shunted from the agriculture ministry to the relatively low key statistics and programme implementation department, on Monday went as far as to say that Banerjee was aware that her party leaders indulged in bribery and extortion.

On Wednesday, the people of Gopalnagar, Beraberi and Khasherberi villages, land from which were included in the project site, had gathered in front of the office of the Block Development Officer (BDO) for collecting rice coupons given by the state government. These people had neither signed nor taken any compensation for their holdings from the erstwhile Left Front government.