Updated: February 13, 2022 5:08:25 am
TRINAMOOL CONGRESS (TMC) chairperson and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday formed a fresh national working committee of her party in a move aimed at sending a message of unity within the party.
She made the announcement in the presence of party MP Abhishek Banerjee and other senior leaders. All present national-level portfolios in the TMC, including Abhishek Banerjee’s portfolio of National General Secretary, have been dissolved.
After Saturday’s meeting, Chatterjee said, “A 20-member committee has been formed. Excluding Mamata Banerjee, nobody was given any portfolio. These will be decided by the chairperson and will be announced later.”
Banerjee held an hour-long meeting with acting core committee members of the party at her residence in Kalighat on Saturday at 5 pm in the wake of recent reports of differences between a section of senior leaders and Abhishek Banerjee.
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Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim and many other leaders who are handling key ministries in the state have been included in the working committee. Excluding Mamata and Abhishek, those part of the committee are Amit Mitra, Subrata Bakshi, Partha Chatterjee, Sudip Banerjee, Yashwant Sinha, Firhad Hakim, Aroop Biswas, Chandrima Bhattacharya, Kakali Ghosh Dastidar, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, Rajesh Tripathi, Jyotipriya Mullick, Asima Patra, Malay Ghatak, Anubrata Mondol, Buluchik Baraik, Goutam Dev and Shovandev Chattopadhyay. This was announced by Partha Chatterjee during a press conference.
On February 3, Mamata Banerjee was unanimously re-elected as TMC chairperson. The same day, senior TMC leader Partha Chatterjee announced that Banerjee would announce the new working committee of the party.
A senior leader of TMC said, “Senior leaders of the West Bengal TMC unit expressed reservations about the party’s association with professional agencies as political strategists. The final call will be taken by our chairperson.”
According to TMC sources, three prominent leaders have not been included in the TMC’s newly formed working committee. These three leaders are Derek O’Brien, Sougata Roy and Dulal Murmu. O’Brien and Roy are considered close to Abhishek Banerjee.
A senior leader who attended the meeting said, “Over the past few days, there has been speculation about growing differences between senior leaders in the party and Abhishek Banerjee. But Didi has sent a clear message that she is the last word in the party.”
He added, “Sushmita Dev, who is considered close to Abhishek Banerjee, was not included in the national working committee whereas Anubrata Mondol, who is the Birbhum district chief of the party, has been included in the committee.”
The latest tussle between Abhishek and senior TMC leaders came to the fore after two candidate lists were released by the TMC for the civic polls, with the party later clarifying about a “final list”.
“Abhishek thought the party needed a “proper direction and professional approach.” But a majority of the party leaders believe Mamata Banerjee is the only leader who can make a difference in any political fight.”
On Thursday, a number of young leaders in the TMC took to social media to bat for the TMC’s ‘one person, one post’ policy.
The ‘one person, one post’ policy has been floating around in the corridors of the ruling camp after Trinamool’s win in the last Assembly polls, but it is yet to be implemented in earnest.
However, according to sources close to Mamata Banerjee, she gave a clear message to party leaders, reiterating that she would not tolerate this type of “open fight within the party” and “any differences should be resolved within the party.”
Before the meeting with Mamata Banerjee, senior leaders of TMC such as Partha Chatterjee, Subrata Bakshi, Sudip Banerjee, Firhad Hakim, Aroop Biswas, Chandrima Bhattacharya met at Bakshi’s office in Hazra. Sudip Banerjee said, “We want the best for the party. That has been discussed.”
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