Home / West-bengal / Mamata Banerjee reinstates old observers system, but not in name

Mamata Banerjee reinstates old observers system, but not in name

TMC chief tells her party colleagues that she will directly monitor panchayat polls scheduled this summer
Mamata Banerjee at the Trinamul meeting on Friday.
Mamata Banerjee at the Trinamul meeting on Friday.
PTI picture

Snehamoy Chakraborty   |   Calcutta   |   Published 18.03.23, 03:20 AM

Mamata Banerjee on Friday willy-nilly reinstated the old observer system into her party that was abolished before the 2021 Assembly polls by her nephew and Trinamul general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, but without calling them observers.

She also told her party colleagues that she would directly monitor the panchayat polls scheduled this summer. 


“She appointed a set of senior leaders for different districts, but refrained from calling them observers.... This was done as she believes that observers played a key role in the districts as local leaders couldn’t always communicate with Didi or Abhishek directly. She gave the responsibility of districts to some of her trusted aides,” said a senior Trinamul leader, who was present at a meeting Mamata convened at her Kalighat residence.

In this meeting, senior leader and state power minister Aroop Biswas was assigned three districts, Nadia, East Burdwan and Darjeeling.

The state’s library minister and Mangalkot MLA Siddikulla Chowdhury will look after the party in minority-dominated districts Murshidabad, Malda and North Dinajpur along with party’s Mothabari MLA Sabina Yeasmin.

Urban development minister Firhad Hakim has been assigned Hooghly and Howrah. Law minister Moloy Ghatak will take care of Bankura and Purulia, as well as his home district West Burdwan. MLA Tapas Roy has been asked to look after South Dinajpur. 

Jhargram MLA and junior forest minister Birbaha Hansda has been assigned tribal pockets in Jungle Mahal.

Though the appointments became the talking point in the party circles amid murmurs that Mamata would get more leaders involved in the party’s organisational affairs, Trinamul MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, who held a news meet along with finance minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, after the party meeting, tried his best to say these leaders were not designated observers.

Party sources said leaders refrained from using the term “observer” because of the possibility of it being seen as a move to undo the change brought by Abhishek. 

Abhishek abolished the party’s observer system before the 2021 Assembly polls following reports that a few leaders from Calcutta started posting their own people in the party’s organisation using their position as observers. His logic was that the role played by some of the observers went against the party’s interest and many grassroots leaders left the party because of the dictatorship of observers. 

Mamata, sources said, accepted the logic as Suvendu Adhikari, who left Trinamul for the BJP months ahead of the Assembly elections, had been an observer for seven Bengal districts, where the party’s organisation faced challenges.

“Following the change, the party’s organisation was monitored from Calcutta, especially from Abhishek’s office. That system of monitoring by Abhishek’s team is likely to remain, but ‘observers’ will now monitor the organisation independently and report to Didi,” said a source in Trinamul.

In this new system, the “observers” are not likely to have the sweeping powers of yore, a source said.

During the meeting, Mamata reportedly said that she would personally monitor the entire party as well as Birbhum, which is a concern for her after the arrest of Anubrata Mondal who is now in ED custody in Delhi. She said that she would hold meetings with the party leaders of the districts at least thrice a month. 

“The party’s outreach drives like Didir Suraksha Kavach and Didir Doot will also continue,” Bandyopadhyay added. 

86 spotted deer released

The state forest department released 86 spotted deer into the Buxa Tiger Reserve of Alipurduar on Friday.

The deer were brought from the Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary, Birbhum, in three vehicles.

The department wants to create a prey base in the reserve where it plans to reintroduce the royal Bengal tiger.

Anirban Choudhury

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