New Delhi: With the Trinamool Congress securing a third term in West Bengal after the recently concluded Assembly elections, Abhishek Banerjee, the second-in-command in the party and nephew of Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee is slowly being readied to take over the reins of the party. A step towards this was his appointment as all India general secretary of the TMC on Saturday.

Sources in the TMC have told The Sunday Guardian that Abhishek Banerjee would be seen more often in the public domain, unlike earlier when Banerjee would be doing more of the backend work for the party.

This is also becoming evident from the fact that Abhishek Banerjee is touring all the cyclone affected districts of Bengal. Cyclone Yaas had hit Bengal last month with a wind speed of about 150-180 km/hr, devastating many houses and inundating the low-lying areas. Abhishek Banerjee was seen touring the South 24 Parganas district and East Midnapore district which have been most affected by the cyclone.

Abhishek Banerjee, who was on a two-day tour of these districts, met the families who have been impacted by the cyclone; he also visited some of the relief shelters, apart from interacting and listening to the grievances of the affected people. He also  promised them that relief material and compensation from the government would reach their bank accounts directly to weed out “middlemen” and “cut money”.

These tours, which were earlier done by Mamata Banerjee, are now being undertaken by her nephew, which has made even party leaders believe that Mamata Banerjee is slowly handing over the party work to her nephew while she concentrates on governance.

A TMC leader had earlier told The Sunday Guardian: “Abhishek Banerjee had earlier been restricted to his constituency of Diamond Harbour and since the election results were declared, we are seeing him play on the front foot. He has already started handling the majority of the party’s work. He is visiting places affected by Cyclone Yaas, meeting people and leading from the front, which was earlier done by Didi. Expect Abhishek Banerjee to get a greater position in the party officially.”

Sources in the TMC say that Abhishek Banerjee, who was earlier considered as a “child” in politics, has proven his mettle to Mamata Banerjee by winning the election, after which Didi has reposed her total faith in him to take the party from here on.

A source close to Abhishek Banerjee said: “It was Abhishek Banerjee who decided to bring in Prashant Kishor following the 2019 general elections and despite receiving much criticism, he has proved that his strategy was correct, and the party won. During the elections, many decisions were taken by Abhishek Banerjee alone and the results again proved that he has matured in politics. It can be said that while Didi will now be focusing on governance, Abhishek will be focusing on strengthening the party.”

Abhishek Banerjee is a two-time Member of Parliament from Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas and president of the party’s youth wing. In an organizational meeting of the TMC held on Saturday, Abhishek Banerjee was elevated to the post of general secretary of the party.

Abhishek Banerjee’s political maturity could also be drawn from the fact that he was one of the first TMC leaders who put out a tweet to stop the violence when the CBI arrested two TMC ministers and an MLA. Banerjee was also the first political leader to pay a visit to the ailing wife of senior BJP leader Mukul Roy at the Apollo hospital in Kolkata, which prompted BJP leader and the state president to visit Mukul Roy just hours after Abhishek Banerjee left.

One of the closest aides of Mamata Banerjee and Bengal minister Firad Hakim had earlier said that the party would accept Abhishek Banerjee as Mamata Banerjee’s political heir and that Abhishek Banerjee had proven his mettle to be in politics.