Two dons and a college clash
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Soon after that, Ahmed was arrested and several cases were lodged against him, including attempt to murder, rioting and arson. In 2009, he joined the TMC. He was announced the party in charge of Garden Reach area at a public meeting held by Mamata in 2009. In a year, the CPM strongman emerged as a new don of the TMC as he was given a ticket in the civic election.
Explaining his shift from the CPM, Ahmed said: "I used to work for the CPM and I was a CITU leader. But CPM leaders conspired against me to give Mokhtar a superior position. He became the CITU leader in Garden Reach area, forcing me join the TMC. I was inspired by Didi's speech in 2009."
Mokhtar shifted his allegiance to the Congress in the 2011 Assembly elections after he was denied a position by the CPM. The Congress is standing by him, with PCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya saying, "Mokhtar was not present in the area at the time of violence and he was at his residence at that time."
The battle between Mokhtar and Ahmed largely revolves around profit-sharing in recruitment of contractual labourers for the Kidderpore dockyard. The dockyard adjoining Garden Reach has a total of 16 berths in two docks and at least 600 big vehicles enter the dock complex providing livelihood to over 10,000 labourers. Of the 10,000 dock labourers, not more than 3,000 are permanent workers of the port.
Manas Som, a retired trade union leader, said: "Earlier, there were 9,300 permanent labourers in the dock. But now the number has fallen to 3,000. The trade unions fight over control of these contractual labourers as they provide money."
According to sources, Ahmed and Mokhtar supply contractual labourers to the dock complex and also control the workforce in about five big factories and numerous small factories in the area. The trade union gets at least 20 per cent "cut" on the daily wages of the contractual labourers.
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