regular-article-logo Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Mamata announces TMC's new state committee, old-timers get their due

The Bengal chief minister made the announcements at an organisational meeting of the party at the Netaji Indoor Stadium

Meghdeep Bhattacharyya Calcutta Published 09.03.22, 02:37 AM
Mamata Banerjee addresses Trinamul Congress leaders  and workers in Calcutta on Tuesday.

Mamata Banerjee addresses Trinamul Congress leaders and workers in Calcutta on Tuesday. Sourced by The Telegraph

Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced the Trinamul Congress’s new state committee on which old-timers got their due and repeatedly stressed the need for discipline and loyalty in the party.

The Bengal chief minister announced the committee at an organisational meeting of Trinamul at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here.


She appointed 21 state vice-presidents, including the likes of former finance minister Amit Mitra, BJP turncoat Jayprakash Majumdar (who joined Trinamul on Tuesday), Dum Dum MP Saugata Roy, agriculture minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay and education minister Bratya Basu. Among 20 state general-secretaries are Barasat MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Canning East MLA Saokat Molla, Naihati MLA Partha Bhowmick, Balagarh MLA Manoranjan Byapari and Baranagar North MLA Tapas Roy. Mamata also named 23 state secretaries.

She appointed Jaya Dutta as the chairperson of the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad.

Alongside Ghosh Dastidar, the national president of the women’s wing, Mamata appointed Bhattacharya as its state president.

Filmmaker and Barrackpore MLA Raj Chakraborty, one of the state general-secretaries, was made the cultural wing chief. Former footballer Bidesh Bose, the Uluberia East MLA, was given charge of the sports wing.

She also changed the organisational district presidents in Calcutta North, Krishnagar, Tamluk, Bongaon and Cooch Behar.

In her 42-minute address, the chief minister warned against excesses to ensure better electoral results — while firmly defending the cleanliness of the recent poll processes for 108 municipalities and five municipal corporations.

“Given all the work that has been done, the people have decided in their mind to vote for us anyway,” said Mamata.

Delivering a message of unity, the chief minister expressed her displeasure over sections of the party’s backing of Independents — mostly Trinamul rebels who contested against official party candidates — and embarrassing the party on social or mainstream media. Her warning came against the backdrop of an unprecedented tally of 119 victorious Independents at the 108 civic bodies that went to polls on February 27.

“The Independents, they are neither here nor there… those backing them, remember that I get each and every input. You think this is your chance (to prove a point to the party)? When the time comes, the party will simply strike off your name,” she said.

“By defeating the party, you want to remain its leaders? I have seen seven-eight such people, some have been talking on television too…. The disciplinary committee must take stern action,” she said, adding that the committee would comprise the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay, state president Subrata Bakshi, state secretary-general Partha Chatterjee, state general-secretaries Firhad Hakim and Aroop Biswas, national general-secretary Abhishek Banerjee, and national vice-president Chandrima Bhattacharya.

“First, they will be alerted. If unheeded, up to two show-cause notices. After that, suspension. No matter how big the leader…. The party is not weak,” said Mamata.

“Those two-three who have been alerted already, consider this your last chance... if that’s what you want, the doors are ajar, you can go anywhere you like,” she added.

“Speaking rubbish on social and mainstream media, maligning the party…. One lakh workers will toil with sweat and blood, do extremely well for the party, but one leader will cause damage by saying something bad. We will not accept the bad.”

Mamata went on to announce names for the state committee, with mostly time-tested loyalists from the so-called old guard, as the likes of her nephew Abhishek and poll consultant Prashant Kishor watched from the dais. The Abhishek-Kishor clique’s disregard for the old guard is one of Trinamul’s worst-kept secrets.

“Remember, politics is for service to the people. Not for making money,” said Mamata.

“We are already monitoring all the work… we will take prompt action against complaints of inactivity,” she added.

The chief minister said MLAs won a long time ago, with the first anniversary of the Assembly election results due on May 2. She stressed the need for regularity and sincerity in their attendance when the House is in session, instructing them to put in the kind of work and seriousness they did in school or college life.

She said from May 5 – the first anniversary of her being sworn in as chief minister for the third consecutive term – her party’s leadership must embark on a tireless mass connect mission, reaching out to the people in every block, every ward of the state.

“The first phase will take place between May 5 and July 21. The second phase will take place from July 21 till before Durga Puja. The third phase will begin after the Puja-Diwali spell of festivals is over,” said Mamata, repeatedly harping on the need for active outreach and public service. “One cannot, must not forget the constituencies after winning elections…. There is no time to waste.”

She said if the BJP – she attacked it repeatedly during her address, sometimes accusing the Left and the Congress of being in cahoots with the saffron camp, against her – if to be defeated nationally in 2024, Bengal has to show the way. She mentioned states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya, while briefly broaching the subject of her national aspirations for the party.

“The BJP is still in power at the Centre only because there is no alternative. The day a viable alternative is created, they will be destroyed,” she said. “We fight the BJP, the CPM, and the Congress… together.”

Dhankhar demand: Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday asked Speaker Biman Banerjee to meet him within three days for a discussion on the “chaotic spectacle” that unfolded in the House on Monday. The BJP has alleged that Dhankhar was physically assaulted by women members of the treasury benches.

Mamata, in her speech at the party meeting, hailed women MLAs of her party for having “saved the dignity” of democracy, the House and the Constitution, apparently referring to them keeping Dhankhar from leaving the House without tabling his address. She accused the BJP of having “conspired to murder democracy” on Monday.

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