Ahead of the upcoming State Assembly elections, the ruling Trinamool Congress has been caught up in a state of political turmoil. While party supremo Mamata Banerjee have been up-in-arms against the BJP, several TMC leaders are now deserting the party.
In the latest development, TMC MLA Mihir Goswami, from Coochbehar Dakshin, has resigned from the party on Thursday evening and speculations are now rife about him joining the BJP. Goswami had earlier met BJP MP Nitish Pramanik in October, after conceding that he had to ‘digest insults’ on several occasions. He remained a TMC loyalist until now, owing to his allegiance to Mamata Banerjee.
In a Facebook post, Mihir Goswami recounted that he wrote, “Those who felt my decision was justified, let me tell them I had been neglected in the past ten years within my party. There was no perceptible change even after I took up the matter with my supreme leader. After crossing all tolerance levels, I am of the view that the present TMC is not the same party I had joined two decades back.” Goswami had also informed about being exempted from all organisational duties on October 3, this year and was often neglected and insulted within the party.
Reportedly, Mamata Banerjee had sent senior leader Rabindranath Ghosh to convince Goswami, however, all attempts at reconciliation had failed. It is said that several other leaders are also in talks with both the BJP and the Congress and may switch parties ahead of the elections. As per reports, party leaders are miffed at the growing influence of Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee in the party.
Influential TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari hints at his exit
On Thursday, TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari resigned from his position as the Chairman of the Hooghly River Bridge Commission. Adhikari, who holds influence in over 35 constituencies and the former Minister for Transport, Irrigation and water resources, has been replaced by TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee. Ever since his resignation from the Transport Department, rumours are rife about his exit from the party.
Reportedly, Suvendu Adhikari has been skipping key cabinet meeting and holding rallies, not under the flag of Trinamool Congress or the posters of party supremo. Mamata Banerjee had sent election strategist Prashant Kishor to Adhikari’s residence but he had refused to meet him. A desperate attempt was also made to pacify Adhikari through senior party leader Sougata Roy but the talks have remained ‘inconclusive.’ While speaking on the development, a TMC source conceded, “The Adhikari family always decides as a family.”
Mamata Banerjee resorts to damage control
With a growing discontentment within the party, Mamata Banerjee is now trying to win over the estranged TMC leaders. “The TMC will rectify if some mistakes have been committed. There can be misunderstanding or someone may be angry with some individuals, but please don’t misunderstand the party for that. Some have grievances over who will act as the party observer of which district. I want to make it clear that I am the party’s observer for the entire state.”
She further stated, “When you are in a political party you need to take everybody along. I am occupied with administrative work. But from now on, I will look after both – the party and the government. If someone thinks that Didi is not aware of their activities, then they are wrong. I am aware of everything. I want to say it clearly that I am very well aware of the intentions of those who are keeping in touch with the opposition camp.”
Trinamool Congress uses ‘outsider’ card against the BJP
With the Trinamool Congress on the backfoot, the party has now resorted to using the ‘outsider’ card against the BJP. The party had earlier accused the so-called ‘outsiders’ of trying to occupy West Bengal. Reiterating the ‘outsider’ fallacy, Mamata Banerjee claimed on Thursday that BJP represented the outsiders and had no place in the State.
“There is no place for outsiders in Bengal. I welcome those who have made Bengal their home…. But those who come to the state only during elections and try to disturb the peace of the State are not at all welcome…Bengal is the land of Rabindranath and Nazrul Islam; it is not a land of communal riots like Gujarat,” Mamata Banerjee had remarked. She had also attacked Union Home Minister Amit Shah and said that she had never seen a Home Minister like him, supposedly busy with elections amidst escalating border tensions.