HAVING FACED three consecutive election defeats in the Hills, the Trinamool Congress is likely to announce the new president of the Darjeeling Trinamool district committee next week, for which names of former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia and senior party leader Praful Chakraborty are doing the rounds, sources said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, sources said, is extremely unhappy with the the present Darjeeling TMC chief Ranjan Sarkar as the party has failed in three consecutive elections — the Siliguri Municipal Corporation polls, the mahakuma parishad polls and the Assembly elections. These defeats have been “attributed to factionalism” within the party, sources added.
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Last year, state Tourism Minister Gautam Deb was removed as the party’s district president and replaced by the then youth wing president Sarkar, who is also a municipal councillor in Siliguri. But as this experiment failed to yield results with the Trinamool not winning any of the six Assembly seats in the district, Mamata began to look for new options for the district chief post, party leaders said.
“The matter was discussed in great depth during the meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium, where party leaders from different districts were present. The announcement regarding the new district president will be made soon,” said a senior TMC leader.
Meanwhile, party insiders said as Bhaichung has never has been part of either the state committee or the district committee, it was likely that Praful Chakraborty would be the new district president while the former footballer would be made the working president. “
It could work effectively to end infighting within the party. Bhaichung could work in bringing the different lobbies together and ending the factionalism and Pratul, with his acceptability, could augment that,” a TMC leader said.
There are also speculations that Bhaichung will be appointed as the chairman of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority.
Bhaichung had lost to CPM’s Asok Bhattacharya in Siliguri in the recently held Assembly polls. Chakraborty had held the post of the district president before Gautam Deb.