For more than ten years, Arabul Islam, a powerful member of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), represented the party led by Mamata Banerjee in Bhangar, South 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. However, the former MLA was taken into custody by the Kolkata Police on Thursday in connection with the murder of an Indian Secular Front (ISF) worker who was reported eight months prior, a decision that shocked people. The CPI(M) and the BJP have claimed that the arrest is a ploy by the TMC before of the Lok Sabha elections, despite the ruling party's insistence that it shows the police's impartiality and refutes the opposition's assertions.
In the instance of Mohammad Mohiuddin Molla, an ISF worker, who was shot dead in June of last year while attending the block development office to submit his nomination papers for the panchayat elections, Arabul is charged with murder. The poll verified that Arabul, who secured Bhangar for the TMC in 2006 during a period when the Left led by the CPI(M) was virtually in control of Bengali politics, had been slipping in influence.
Violence in the mostly Muslim neighborhood of Bhangar and the local outrage against Arabul during the panchayat elections compelled the TMC to appoint MLA Saokat Molla to manage the local organization. Another powerful figure from South 24 Parganas' minority group is Molla, the MLA for Canning Purba.
However, that proved insufficient as the ISF gave the TMC a serious run for its money, working together with the CPI(M) and a local anti-land acquisition committee. The TMC won 86 of the 218 seats in the 10 gram panchayats in the Bhangar-II block without a runoff. The TMC won sixty-three of the 132 seats that were up for election, followed by the ISF with forty-three, the Jomi Jibika Bastutantra Poribesh Rokkha Committee with eighteen, the CPI(M) with seven, and an Independent with one. This occurred two years following the party's defeat in the Bhangar Assembly seat.
The TMC leadership did not want Arabul to ruin the party's prospects because the Lok Sabha elections were quickly coming and the stakes were much higher. Eliminating him from the picture enables the party to offer Molla complete control in Bhangar, which is a significant Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency and provided the party with a significant lead in 2019.