Dismissing speculations of his cosying up with rival BJP, senior Trinamool Congress leader Sabyasachi Dutta on Sunday said he remained a "loyal soldier" of the party and accused the BJP of trying to create confusion ahead of the general elections.
Mr Dutta, who is also the mayor of Bidhannagar, met BJP leader Mukul Roy at his Salt Lake residence on Friday, which led to the speculation.
The TMC leadership, however, said that Mr Dutta has accepted his mistake of hosting a BJP leader at his residence at a time when the two parties are heading for a showdown in the polls in the state.
The speculations gained ground after Mr Dutta on Saturday decided to skip the party's North 24 Pargans district committee meeting.
Furious at the development, TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had asked senior party leaders Firhad Hakim and Jyotipriyo Mullick to convene a meeting of councillors of Bidhanagar Municipal Corporation to discuss the matter.
"I am a loyal soldier of TMC and Mamata Banerjee. On Friday, (Mukul) Roy all of a sudden came to meet me, as I had known him since his days in TMC I couldn't say no to him. But I was not aware that he had also informed the media about his visit to my place and had placed camera persons outside my house. He deliberately wanted to create a confusion," Mr Dutta said after a meeting with the councillors.
He also claimed that the two did not discuss a single word about politics. "We spoke about cricket," he said.
Mr Hakim said Mr Roy, ahead of the elections, was deliberately trying to create chaos as the party doesn't have the right candidates to fight the Lok Sabha polls in the state.
"Just like a beggar a senior leader of BJP is knocking at every door with a request to contest the polls. We are all soldiers of Mamata Banerjee, we believe in the principles of Mahatama Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, unlike BJP which believes in ideology of those who killed Gandhiji," Mr Hakim said.
According to sources, TMC Rajya Sabha leader Dola Sen on Sunday went to Mr Dutta's residence to discuss the matter and enquired about the entire sequence of events. Later, Mr Hakim and Mr Mullick also spoke to Mr Dutta. It was only after his assurance that he was asked to come and attend the meeting of TMC councillors and leaders.
Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.