Concerned by rumblings amongst senior leaders prior to the essential meeting polls, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) management on Sunday held talks with disgruntled state forest minister Rajib Banerjee in a bid to bridge variations whereas expelling an in depth aide of heavyweight chief Suvendu Adhikari who resigned from the cupboard final month.
The expelled chief, Kanishka Panda, was secretary of the TMC unit in East Midnapore district the place the Adhikari household represents two Lok Sabha seats, an meeting seat and heads a civic physique.
TMC secretary-basic Partha Chatterjee and election strategist Prashant Kishor held an hour-lengthy assembly with the forest minister at Chatterjee’s residence at Naktala in south Kolkata on Sunday afternoon. While Chatterjee remained tight-lipped, Banerjee claimed that the talks lined “political strategy.”
Leaders shut to the minister, nevertheless, mentioned he raised points akin to corruption and nepotism by some leaders in Howrah district, the place Banerjee represents the Domjur meeting seat whereas speaking to Chatterjee and Kishor.
“I attended the meeting as a party worker. We discussed strategy for the coming days. I cannot share anything more 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 discussion. I will be available if I am called for more talks,” the forest minister mentioned.
Posters in assist of Banerjee and Adhikari are showing throughout West Bengal, together with Kolkata, since final month, stoking speculations that the 2 common and relatively youthful leaders, could go away the TMC. Posters, with pictures of Banerjee and the phrases, “symbol of honesty,” written in Bengali, appeared in Howrah on Sunday as nicely.
Tussle between Banerjee and senior leaders in Howrah over alleged nepotism and corruption first surfaced in public in July this yr. “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,” the minister mentioned in July.
Making issues robust for the social gathering, Mihir Goswami, the legislator from the Cooch Behar South constituency in north Bengal, not too long ago joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) whereas Shilbhadra Dutta, the lawmaker from Barrackpore in North 24 Parganas district, voiced his dissent and declared that he won’t contest in 2021.
“I do not know who are putting up these posters. I have nothing to do with it,” Rajib Banerjee mentioned on Sunday and refused to be put in the identical bracket with Adhikari.
“Please do not link me with Adhikari. His contention is his personal issue and the same applies to me. Differences can be democratically discussed in the party,” mentioned Banerjee. He insisted that opposite to frequent notion, he has not distanced himself from actions of the TMC or the federal government.
Significantly, Adhikari’s father, Sisir Adhikari, is the eldest among the many TMC’s Lok Sabha members. He can also be president of the social gathering’s East Midnapore district unit. Mamata Banerjee, whereas nearly addressing social gathering leaders final week, requested him to expel all rebels instantly.
After his expulsion was introduced, Kanishka Panda spoke out towards the TMC and mentioned he felt relieved. “Mamata Banerjee will understand in the coming elections what price a party has to pay for ignoring a popular leader like Suvendu and listening to Kishor’s advice. I am facing the wrath for protesting against comments made against Suvendu,” mentioned Panda.
Akhil Giri, the legislator from Egra in East Midnapore and a identified detractor of Suvendu Adhikari, mentioned, “Panda should have been expelled long ago for anti-party activities.”
Goswami and Dutta have already spoken in public towards deploying I-Pac, Kishor’s firm, and organizational choices taken on its recommendation. Senior TMC leaders instructed HT final month that Adhikari was particularly sad with organizational choices taken by Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee and Kishor, who was roped in after the BJP received 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019.
Also, Adhikari, who was earlier appointed election observer for a number of districts, together with Murshidabad, demanded that leaders of his alternative be fielded subsequent yr from round 65 meeting seats. This was unacceptable to the management. Adhikari and Abhisek Banerjee even took potshots at one another with out taking names at latest public conferences.