Kolkata: Seasoned politician Somen Mitra, who had quit the Congress in 2007, rejoined the party today in what came as a morale-booster for the Bengal Congress which suffered frequent desertions of late.
A Congress stalwart, Mitra was the party president in the 90s. In 2007, he quit the Congress to form his own party which later merged with the Trinamool Congress.
Mitra, who described his rejoining the Congress as “home-coming”, attacked the TMC-run government in the state on the two burning issues of atrocities against women and chit fund scams.
“I have rejoined the Congress as I felt that the promises of the Trinamool Congress regime are not being fulfilled,” he said.
“Congress has always been in my heart. It is a home-coming for me. I am very happy and grateful to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for giving me this opportunity,” Mitra said at a programme in the presence of central party leaders Ambika Soni and C P Joshi.
Last week, he had resigned as Trinamool Congress MP from Diamond Harbour. Since late 2011, the veteran leader had been having a strained relationship with the Trinamool Congress.
The relationship strained further after he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the mushrooming of chit funds in the state and sought his intervention.
The matter worsened after Mitra’s wife, Shika, a Trinamool MLA from Bowbazar area, openly criticised Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool Congress, for which she was show caused and later on suspended.
Talks of Mitra joining the Congress were doing the rounds for sometime after he recently got close again to the Congress leadership.
“Many are saying that I have betrayed Trinamool, but I want to say that I have betrayed none. I had written to TMC’s highest leadership on November 7 last year expressing my wish to resign as party MP in January,” said Mitra.
He said that women were no longer safe in the state. Everyday there are incidents of rape and gang-rapes.
“The CM has the time to visit Suchitra Sen in a hospital, but she didn’t get the time to visit the family members of the Madhyamgram gangrape victim,” Mitra said.
Mitra said his letter to the Prime Minister on the chit fund issue was not taken kindly by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“After I wrote a letter to PM, one day I got a call from Mamata Banerjee asking to know why I wrote the letter to PM without informing her. I told her that I felt the necessity because steps should be taken to close these chit fund companies in Bengal in order to save the rural economy from a collapse,” Mitra claimed.
Mitra, who is yet to be given a post in the state Congress, vowed to fight against the “misrule” of the Trinamool regime.
“I did not come back for any post. I just want to fight against the misrule as a normal Congress soldier,” he said.
Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed Khan was also present during the formal induction programme apart from Ambika Soni and C P Joshi.
The programme was marked by chaos and indiscpline among Congress workers prompting Joshi, Soni and state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharjee at one point to request with folded hands to maintain discipline.
The three leaders said that the reinduction of Mitra would boost morale of the party which was battling an exodus of MLAs and leaders for the last three months in favour of the TMC.
“We are confident that Mitra’s joing the party would boost the party’s support base in the state,” Joshi said.