NEW DELHI: Amid growing concerns within the Trinamool Congress (TMC) over charges of corruption that many of its leaders are facing, the party held a booth committee meeting in Kolkata earlier this week to breathe a fresh lease of life among party workers and keep them motivated ahead of the Panchayat elections in the state due next year.
The booth committee meeting was attended by all the TMC workers from across the state, including TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew and second-in-command of the party, Abhishek Banerjee. Both the top leaders of the TMC, while addressing their workers, tried to play down the corruption charges against its leaders as “vindictive” politics by the BJP after the BJP could not come to power in the 2021 Vidhan Sabha elections.
Both Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee also tried to give a message to all of TMC workers that there is “no lobby” in TMC and that for TMC, there is only one lobby and that is of Mamata Banerjee. Since the last few months, several reports have been doing rounds in Kolkata over “differences” between Abhishek Banerjee and the old guard of the TMC.
Sources had also earlier told this newspaper that Abhishek Banerjee is trying to create a “new TMC” and clean its house that has been marred with charges of corruption. Posters were also seen in several parts of Kolkata with the images of Abhishek Banerjee and minus Mamata Banerjee giving a message that Abhishek is the “new TMC”.
However, the top leadership of the party has tried to assuage the divide within their rank and file earlier this week, saying that all is well within the party. None the less, sources within the party that this correspondent spoke to said otherwise.
Sources from TMC said that Abhishek Banerjee is trying to “clean up” the party and ensure that the younger generation gets to play a larger role within the party. If sources are to be believed the top two leaders have decided that Abhishek Banerjee would be looking after the day-to-day affairs of the party, while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would be focusing on governance in Bengal.
To this regard, Abhishek Banerjee while addressing the workers of TMC earlier this week also gave a message to all its booth and grassroot workers that in the coming Panchayat elections the party would not tolerate violence and that the opposition should be allowed to contest elections.
It is pertinent to remind here that the 2018 Panchayat elections of West Bengal was marred with violence and that many opposition candidates were not allowed to even file their nominations. Even several electors were not allowed to cast their votes as reports of widespread violence and rigging had trickled in from Bengal during the local body elections. This the TMC believes had negatively impacted the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and therefore the senior leaders, particularly Abhishek Banerjee does not want a repeat of 2018 scenes from the state.