Senior TMC leader and West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim on Monday referred to party MLA Sabyasachi Dutta, who was stripped of his powers as Bidhannagar Municipal Council mayor, as 'Mir Jafar' -- a synonym for traitor, and said "it would be good if he leaves the party".
The state's ruling Trinamool Congress Sunday clipped the wings of Dutta on the charge of making anti-party statements and gave the additional responsibilities to his deputy Tapas Chatterjee.
"Sabyasachi Dutta is a traitor. He is a Mir Jafar. It would be good if he leaves the party. He can go wherever he wants to. We are not bothered. But we would not tolerate indiscipline in the party," Hakim told reporters.
History suggests Mir Jafar betrayed and succeeded Siraj ud-Daulah, the last independent nawab of Bengal, with support from the British East India Company. Ever since, his name has become a synonym of traitor.
According to Trinamool Congress sources, the party leadership, including its chief Mamata Banerjee, is annoyed with Dutta for making anti-party statements and hobnobbing with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Rajarhat New Town MLA had joined a protest programme of a TMC-backed labour union in Salt Lake on Friday and criticised the state government for not fulfilling its longstanding demand for a salary hike.
A senior TMC leader said the party leadership has decided to ask Dutta to immediately resign from as Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) mayor, but all calls and messages to him have gone unanswered.
"If he doesn't resign on his own, councilors of the corporation might bring a no-confidence motion against him to oust him from the post," he said.
The decision to strip Dutta of his powers as BMC mayor was taken at an emergency meeting of the councilors, who urged Banerjee to take a call on his fate in the party. Hakim was also present at the meeting.
"Several councilors have threatened to resign if Dutta continues as mayor. However, it was decided that party supremo Mamata Banerjee will take the final call," said a councilor who attended the meeting.
Several councilors also proposed Chatterjee's name as the next mayor, but Hakim said the decision will be taken by Banerjee, the sources said.
Chatterjee, a veteran CPI(M) leader of Rajarhat-Newtown area, had switched to the TMC in 2015.
Undaunted by his party's actions, Dutta met BJP leader Mukul Roy Sunday night, fuelling speculation of his defection to the saffron camp.
Roy was seen meeting Dutta at the Bidhanagar Swimming Pool Association Club in Salt Lake.
When asked about his meeting with Roy, Dutta said, "Mukul da is like my elder brother. He is aware of the political developments, so he just came to inquire about my well-being and future plans. It was a courtesy visit."