The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leadership of Sunday held discussions with party leader and state minister Rajib Banerjee, over a week after he criticised it for not promoting talented workers and leaders. This came on a day the party expelled a close aide of dissident party leader Suvendu Adhikari, who resigned from the state cabinet last month.
TMC secretary-general and state education minister Partha Chatterjee and election strategist Prashant Kishor held an hour-long meeting with Banerjee at Chatterjee’s residence in south Kolkata in the afternoon. After the meeting, Banerjee claimed that the talks were held to discuss the party’s political strategy. However, Banerjee added that he also expressed his displeasure at the way some party leaders in Howrah district were functioning.
The forest minister told reporters, “I attended today’s meeting as a party worker. Discussions were held on our strategies for the coming days. I cannot share everything with the media. In a party, there can be disgruntled people and there can be people who are over-satisfied. These things are sorted through discussions. I will be available if I am called for more meetings.”
Banerjee had first spoken out against the party in July. “The rectification drive initiated by Mamata Banerjee will not succeed if action is taken against small fish and the big ones are allowed to go scot-free,” he said.
On Sunday, posters with his images and a caption, “symbol of honesty”, appeared in Howrah. Similar posters have appeared in support of Suvendu Adhikari since the last month.
Speaking about the posters, Banerjee said, “I do not know who is putting up these posters. I have nothing to do with it and I don’t support it. I will also request you not to link me with Adhikari. It was his personal matter and the same applies to me. Differences can be discussed in the party in a democratic way.”
Meanwhile, Adhikari’s associate Kanishka Panda, who was the secretary of the TMC’s Purba Medinipur district, was expelled. The Adhikari family represents two Lok Sabha seats and an assembly seat in the district.
After he was expelled, Panda distributed sweets among his followers and said he felt relieved. “Mamata Banerjee will understand in the coming days what a price the party has to pay for ignoring a popular leader like Suvendu Adhikari and listening to its poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s advice. I am facing the wrath for protesting against comments made against Suvendu. But I feel relieved today,” Panda added.
On Saturday, one of the TMC’s party offices in Purba Medinipur was painted saffron.