Updated: December 11, 2021 7:30:36 am
As West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee’s snub to high-profile party MP Mahua Moitra during an administrative review meeting of Nadia district at Krishnanagar on Thursday made waves, the episode brought long-simmering dissension and infighting within the ruling party on Mahua’s home turf to light. It also might have revealed Mamata’s bid to rein in Mahua in Nadia district politics.
Concerned by the intra-party power struggle in Nadia in the run-up to the upcoming civic elections, Mamata, during the review meeting, pulled up Mahua, Krishnanagar MP, saying the poll ticket distribution will be decided by the party. The video of Mamata ticking off Mahua — who nodded — went viral on social media.
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) December 10, 2021
In a move to quell factional feuds involving pro and anti-Mahua camps, Mamata publicly warned her not to indulge in factionalism and advised her to work by taking everyone on board in the district politics.
In the video, the TMC chief is heard as telling Mahua in Bengali: “Mahua, I want to give a clear message. I don’t need to see who is against whom. If someone does not like a person, he or she puts up some news on YouTube or in newspapers. This kind of politics can go for one day but not forever. And for only one person to be in the same place forever, that is also not right. And when election will come, party will decide who will contest or not. So, there should be no difference of opinion. Everyone should work together. I am saying this because I know.”
Mamata then asked Mahua’s principal detractor Jayanta Saha about the “mess-up”. “Why that happened? Everything was sent to YouTube?” she questioned him. Saha replied, “Yes Didi. Some sabotage was there…”
The TMC supremo, in turn, asserted, “I know who did it or not. The incident was pre-planned and was given to media. I cross-checked through ADG (Law and Order) and CID. I have got the information.”
She was referring to an incident that took place late last month. A group of women protesters gathered at Krishnanagar Post-office More and alleged corruption in the “Bangla Abas Yojona” project. They also demanded investigation against Jayanta Saha and his associates in this regard. That video had also become viral and made headlines in the local media. The protesters were widely perceived to be affiliated to the Mahua camp.
TMC sources say Mamata is “very worried” about infighting plaguing the Nadia district. In the state Assembly polls earlier this year, when Mahua was Nadia party president, the bordering district was among few belts where the BJP did well, with the TMC losing in 9 out of total 17 seats there. Subsequently, however, Krishnanagar Uttar BJP MLA Mukul Roy joined the TMC even as the latter also wrested Shantipur from the BJP in the October bypolls.
The TMC’s internal organisation report had stated that the party had lost so many seats in Nadia district due to infighting. Mahua was later removed from her post, with the party splitting the district organisation post, appointing Ratna Ghosh Kar as Ranaghat president and making Jayanta Saha president of Krishnanagar.
The tussle between Mahua and Jayanta factions to control the district and the Krishnanagar Municipality has since intensified. Jayanta got the chairman of the municipality Asim Saha removed and has now got his own man Naresh Das appointed as its administrator. Mahua was meanwhile sent to Goa as party in-charge ahead of the Assembly polls.
Refraining from making any comment on the TMC chief’s statement, Asim, however, said that the women protesters’ corruption allegations against Jayanta and others were true. “After party supremo’s statement, I can not say anything. But those allegations were true and many applications were submitted at the District Magistrate office. If proper investigation is conducted, it will be clear that those protesters are right.”
Jayanta denies the allegations. He said, “Chief Minister has said it all. So, I should not talk on this. But, I always do politics with devotion. That’s what I’m doing. Some people want to tarnish me. Whatever the Chief Minister said, everything is clear now.”
Underlining that district politics could be tricky, a senior TMC leader said, “After Mahua became district president, she wanted to control the organisation alone and thus all senior leaders got cornered there. The infighting intensified which caused loss of 9 seats in the district. Now, the party leadership wants to corner Mahua in the district politics and because of that the Chief Minister gave that message to her.”
He also referred to a local Mahua loyalist and Karimpur MLA Bimalendu Biswas’s bid to complain to Mamata that nobody in the administration and police was “listening to them”, which was apparently brushed aside by the CM.
Waiting in the wings to regain its ground in Nadia, the BJP lost no time in seizing on Mamata’s snub to Mahua, with Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari saying, “No one has respect in TMC. Mamata Banerjee is used to insult public representatives in front of everyone. That’s one of the reasons I left the party.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.