Trinamul squads to counter RSS in Bengal
Mamata Banerjee on Friday ordered the formation of two Trinamul squads to counter the RSS’s growing strength in Bengal.
Addressing the party’s core committee meeting at her home here, the Trinamul chief named the squads Jai Hind Bahini and Bongo Jononi Bahini.
Kartik Banerjee, one of Mamata’s brothers, was appointed president of the Jai Hind Bahini and minister Bratya Basu the chairman. Another of Mamata’s brothers, Ganesh Banerjee, was made the convenor.
The Bongo Jononi Bahini will be headed by Trinamul MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar. “She (Mamata) said criminals and anti-social elements had switched to the BJP and were trying to foment tension. She told us to draw up their lists and hand them to her,” said a Trinamul leader.
He added that they had also been asked to recapture Trinamul offices allegedly “occupied” by the BJP after the polls.
At the meeting, the chief minister told Trinamul colleagues that the damage in the Lok Sabha polls was a “temporary disaster” and that a turnaround was possible, according to sources who attended the closed-door talks. “She said this was a shamoyik biporjoy (temporary disaster). She kept saying chinta’r kichhu nei (there is nothing to worry about),” said a Trinamul leader.
Sources said Mamata underscored the need to prioritise “recovery” in the 58 Assembly segments where her party trailed by margins of 5,000 votes or less.
That she was looking to lift the morale of the rank and file in the face of unprecedented attacks from the BJP was clear when Mamata repeatedly reminded the leaders about alleged malpractices through electronic voting machines (EVMs). “She kept telling us about EVMs. She said the EVMs had been programmed to ensure constituencies across the country, which gave the Opposition margins of less than one lakh votes, swung to make the BJP candidates win with slender margins,” said the leader.
“She cited campaign speeches of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to substantiate her point and asked how the two knew weeks before the results exactly what they were going to be, right down to the hourly trends of May 23,” the leader added.
According to the leader, Mamata was planning to launch a dharna and a wider agitation against the Election Commission over EVMs.
Reviewing the results, Mamata admonished several leaders, like Aroop Biswas, Gautam Deb and Binay Barman, for the poor show in north Bengal. But some felt the leaders came in the line of fire for their failure to deliver seats instead of weaknesses that have crept into the ruling party’s organisation.
Mamata reprimanded senior leader Tapan Dasgupta for the defeat in Hooghly — which was won by the BJP’s Locket Chatterjee — and Ajit Maity for the loss in Midnapore where state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh came up trumps.
The chief minister did not even spare Birbhum Trinamul president Anubrata Mondal — seen as one of her favourites — for losses in the Burdwan-Durgapur, Ranaghat and Bishnupur. The seats were assigned to him as an additional responsibility.
She instructed senior leaders to conduct district-wise meetings at the Trinamul headquarters in Calcutta, starting with Hooghly on June 7, to zero in on the causes at the grassroots that enabled the BJP to grow in the state. They were told to draw up a road map to address the weaknesses on a war-footing.