In a bid to check infighting in the Trinamool Congress, party chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday formed a committee to look into the reasons behind the defeat of eight ministers in the recently concluded Assembly elections in West Bengal.
During an internal party meeting of all MLAs and MPs, Mamata made it abundantly clear that the party, which won 211 seats, could have improved its tally by an additional 10-12 seats had there been no “infighting.”
“She came down heavily on infighting, particularly in Nadia and Malda where the party had performed poorly in spite of there being good support,” said a senior party leader, who did not wish to be named.
Mamata argued that if the TMC could perform well in Murshidabad, a former Congress bastion, then there was no reason for the party to do poorly in the adjacent Malda district, he said. She also criticized the party organization in Nadia for performing poorly. “She gave very strict warnings that anyone who is found fighting amongst themselves for supremacy within a specific area will be not be spared. There will be a no tolerance policy for such case,” said the leader.
In the party meeting, Mamata also announced that a new committee would be formed to identify the reasons for defeat in the seats where the party had expected to win.The report would be submitted in the next few days, the leader said.
She also announced that the TMC observer for Nadia district would be her nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, while also dissolving the party’s Malda district committee.
After eight ministers of her cabinet – Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury, Chandrima Bhattacharya, Manish Gupta, Sankar Chakraborty, Sabitri Mitra, Abdul Karim Chowdhury, Shyamapada Mukherjee and Upendranath Biswas – found themselves losing, Banerjee had publicly expressed her surprise. She had promised that “an investigation” would be undertaken into the causes for defeat. She added in the meeting that if “in case infighting was the cause, action would be taken”.
Mamata also made a few changes in the frontal organizations of the party. The state president of Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad, TMC students’ union, Ashok Rudra has been replaced by TMCP North-24 Parganas district president Jaya Dutta.
Meanwhile, TMC MP and former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, who had embarrassed his party by making uncomfortable comments during the Narada sting operation, was absent at the internal meeting attended by all MPs.