Kolkata: The infighting in ruling TMC in West Bengal escalated on Friday as leaders considered to be close to party national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee openly spoke out on ‘one person one post’ and a section of the old guard openly accused them of violating the party discipline.
The spat comes in the backdrop of the perceived power struggle in the party and apparent differences between its generation next leaders and a section of the old guard.
Fresh controversy erupted on Friday after party functionaries Aditi Gayen and Akash Banerjee, who are also relatives of Abhishek Banerjee, tweeted “I support One Person One post in AITC.”
Few other youth leaders considered close to Abhishek Banerjee also tweeted the same.
Abhishek Banerjee, since assuming his party post, has been advocating ‘one person one post’ in Trinamool Congress, which has not gone down well with a section of its old guard.
These party seniors occupy posts both in the party and the government.
Aditi Gayen and Akash Banerjee were unavailable for comments, but senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim, who is also the Kolkata mayor and a minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, said social media posts about the party’s functioning without the consent of the leaders is tantamount to violation of its discipline.
“A section of people are trying to spread misleading messages through social media posts. If TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee wants she can change this as she has the powers. The party doesn’t support this theory of ‘one person one post’,” Hakim said.
TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee echoing him said the face of the party is Mamata Banerjee and she is its supreme leader.
“The party is united. I don’t feel that I should comment on some social media posts by a few persons,” he said.
TMC youth leader Sudip Raha, who too supported ‘one person one post’ theory on his Twitter page, wondered whether Hakim was speaking the truth.
“I have heard our party supremo Mamata Banerjee speaking about one person one post. Now Firhad Hakim is saying something different. I don’t know who is speaking the truth,” Raha said.
Meanwhile, state minister Chandrima Bhattacharya alleged that there was a similar post in her Twitter account without taking her prior permission.
“A Twitter account in my name was created by I-PAC before the election. Today it posted something about ‘one person one post’ without my knowledge. I strongly protest against it,” she said.
Soon after Bhattacharya’s comment the poll strategy company tweeted “I-PAC doesn’t handle any digital properties of @AITC official or any of its leaders. Anyone making such a claim is either uninformed or is blatantly lying. AITC should look into if and how their digital properties and/or that of their leaders are being “allegedly (mis)used”.
The controversy over the party’s candidates list for the coming civic polls in 108 municipalities in the state refused to die down after TMC youth leader and spokesperson Debanghsu Bhattacharya openly criticised party leaders over its uncontested victory in a few municipalities.
“I feel uncontested victories don’t go down well with the masses. We had seen this during the 2018 rural poll when we had won several panchayat bodies uncontested which was followed by the results in 2019 (BJP had won 18 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal). So my appeal is if the opposition wants the deployment of central forces during the civic polls, then it should be allowed so that no one can point fingers at us,” Bhattacharya, who is considered to be close to Abhishek Banerjee, said.
TMC has won Santhia, Budge Budge and Dinhata municipalities uncontested.
Reacting sharply to Bhattacharya’s comment, Hakim said he should think before speaking in public.
“I personally like Debanghsu a lot. But he should think before speaking out. We have seen that despite the presence of paramilitary forces in the state TMC had won the assembly polls. So his arguments are baseless,” he said.
The controversy erupted last week after TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee and its president Subrata Bakshi released the party’s official list of candidates which was signed by them and a separate unsigned list of candidates popped up on the party’s official social media handle.
This led to protests in various parts of the state and disgruntled activists took to the streets, burnt tyres and raised slogans.
As the internal bickering came out in the open, Mamata Banerjee announced that the list signed by Chatterjee and Bakshi is final.
In January, veteran TMC leader and MP Kalyan Banerjee had said that he does not consider anyone else as his leader but Mamata Banerjee and criticised Abhishek Banerjee, who is the nephew of Mamata Banerjee, over a COVID-related suggestion.
Following this, Banerjee had directed all TMC MPs and leaders not to embarrass the party by airing their views and differences in public.
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