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Mamata dissolves TMC office bearers’ committee, forms new panel amid rift with team nephew

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Kolkata, Feb 12: Amid the ongoing internal strife in the TMC, Mamata Banerjee on Saturday announced a 20-member national working committee packed with party veterans amid a growing rift between old timers and Gen Next.

Representational Image

Asserting her firm control over the party, Banerjee brought to the fore her trusted old guard while retaining young blood like Abhishek whose supporters in the recent past had publicly criticised veterans on the issue of holding multiple posts - within the party and state administration.

Banerjee will later name the new office bearers of the party, senior TMC leader Partha Chatterjee told reporters after a meeting at the West Bengal chief minister's Kalighat residence here.

At the meeting, Banerjee asked everybody to work together, a TMC source told PTI.

Amid Abhishek Banerjee's rising influence in the party, following the massive success in last year's state elections where he was the "other" face of the party after Banerjee, a few senior leaders at the meeting once again underlined that Mamata Banerjee was their "supreme leader", the source said.

"After Mamata Banerjee was re-elected the chairperson of the party, she had announced a small committee to look after the party affairs. Today, there was a meeting of that committee, and in that meeting, she announced the new national working committee," " "Mamata Banerjee will later appoint the new office bearers and then it would be sent to the Election Commission," he added.

Among the leaders who found a place in the new national working committee are Amit Mitra, Partha Chatterjee, Subrata Bakshi, Sudip Bandopadhyay, Abhishek Banerjee, Anubrata Mondal, Aroop Biswas, Firhad Hakim and Yashwant Sinha.

TMC's leader in Rajya Sabha Derek O'Brien and veteran Lok Sabha MP Sougata Roy were not included in the committee.

"All the posts related to the national office bearers' committee cease to exist. It will be decided later by chairperson Mamata Banerjee. She is the only leader who has a post in the party, no other leader at the national level has any post right. now, "Chatterjee later said at a press conference.

Another senior party leader said, "So, Abhishek Banerjee is no longer the national general secretary. It is to be seen whether he is re-appointed to that post or to another post." Abhishek Banerjee, the Diamond Harbor MP, was appointed the national general secretary in June last year after the party stormed to power for the third consecutive term. Till late Saturday evening, his Twitter handle identified him as the national general secretary of All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).

Abhishek Banerjee has been advocating for "one person one post" to make way for newcomers, challenging the veterans who hold multiple posts in the government and in the party. Incidentally, Sougata Roy, who failed to find a place in the new committee, had publicly voiced his support for Abhishek Banerjee.

Senior TMC leaders accuse I-PAC of furthering this agenda, which they claim led to protests in various parts of the state after the candidates' list for the civic polls was announced. I-PAC has denied the charge.

"Mamata Banerjee gave the message that everybody has to work together and if there are any differences, it should be aired within the party and not in public," said a TMC leader who was present at the nearly-an-hour-long meeting.

In January, when the state government was dilly-dallying imposing restrictions amid surging COVID-19 cases, Abhishek Banerjee publicly advocated stricter curbs and went on to impose those in his constituency - widely publicized as 'Diamond Harbor Model', triggering a war of words within the party over the move - which first brought to fore dissensions within party ranks.

with PTI inputs

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