Agartala: The factional feud has worsened in Tripura’s ruling BJP after Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb openly threatened to jail a party legislator after dubbing him a “land mafia’.
“If someone uses politics as a shield to do illegal activities like land encroachment, I want to make it clear that they cannot escape prosecution. The law will take its own course and no one will be spared”, said Deb, referring to his party MLA from the city Ashis Kumar Saha on Saturday
However, Saha challenged the chief minister to probe the allegation and implement his words, if he could. A day before Deb’s statement, Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) dismantled a portion of a building in front of Ujjayanta palace, which had been under Saha’s possession for the last 30 yrs and was used as an office for the anti-Left government employees federation.
AMC Mayor Dipak Majumder alleged that Saha and Trinamool Congress state Convener Subal Bhowmik had illegally occupied the government land measuring 7000 sqft in the early ’90s in the heart of the city and was using it for their personal political activities. Initially, it was used under Congress’s banner and then for Trinamool Congress and finally turned into the federation office when Saha became an MLA with a BJP ticket in 2018.
“During the Left Front regime, the then AMC had made several attempts to reclaim the land but couldn’t succeed because of their weakness. But after we took over the charge of AMC two weeks ago, it has been decided all the illegally occupied land in the city would be reclaimed, Unauthorised vendors would be evicted and all the footpaths would be made free from encroachments,” Majumder stated.
Reacting to the Mayor’s statement, both Saha and Bhowmik said the land is personal property and that was the reason why the then Left Front government, despite several attempts, couldn’t do anything. In spite of knowing all details, Majumder did the mistake just to appease a ‘mindless leader’.
“I am surprised to see the attitude of a government towards its legislator. It was a step motivated by political vendetta and I will file a fresh case for compensation in the high court,” Saha added.
The Secretary-General of Employees Federation Samar Roy also expressed displeasure over the AMC’s action and said, “We have been working against the Left since the beginning and before the last assembly elections we extended support to BJP. We are still working for the party. The Mayor today had also been a ‘boat brother’ of us in Congress, TMC and BJP too; but what he did was illegal and wanted to gratify someone, which we shall not let go easily.”