With the Lok Sabha election due next year, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee sent out a stern message to her party workers , asking them to desist from infighting and complacency and work unitedly.
She also accused a section of the party workers in the tribal Junglemahal area of remaining inactive during last month's panchayat polls, which she said had led to the TMC's defeat in some of the seats.
"We had formed the party (TMC) after years of struggle. We have come to power with the people's support. If some (party cadre) think they are bigger than the party, the doors are open for them to leave. Only Mamata Banerjee will work and others will enjoy the fruits of being in power -- that cannot be the way," Banerjee told a meeting of the party's extended core committee.
Stating that some in the party did not work "properly", she said, "Nobody should think that they are above the party. You should remember that two ministers have recently resigned for the party's poor performance in the panchayat polls."
On June 5, Tribal Development Minister James Kujur and Backward Class Development Minister Churamani Mahato had resigned from their posts.
Banerjee's comments come in the backdrop of the BJP increasing its vote-share in the rural polls in the Junglemahal area, particularly in Purulia and Jhargram.
The three Junglemahal districts -- West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura -- which were once hit by Maoist activities, witnessed violent clashes during the panchayat polls.
Continuing with her diatribe, the chief minister said, "Those who are making money in the name of the party should stop such things. This will not be tolerated. There are leaders who are only busy to get new posts. I ask them to reach out to the masses and if they are unwilling to do so, they are free to leave the TMC."
Referring to reports of clashes between the members of the TMC and its youth wing, she said, "This too will not be tolerated. The Trinamool Youth Congress should keep it in mind that the TMC is the mother party and it is one of its arms."
Reaching out to the TMC old-timers, Banerjee said the party was able to achieve its position because of their battle against the CPI-M's misrule during the Left party's 34-year-long regime in the state.
"I feel proud about the sacrifices made by the old-timers of our party. In some cases, the old-timers were not given tickets, despite my instructions to the contrary. This is completely wrong. Those old-timers, who were not given tickets, should be called back to the party and given due respect," she added.
Banerjee asked the district-level leadership of the TMC to take up programmes in the run-up to its annual "Martyrs' Day Rally" on July 21. She also asked the party to step up the protests against the rising fuel prices.
According to senior TMC leaders who did not wish to be named, the recent spate of reshuffle in the state cabinet and some local bodies is a hint that the party is planning to overhaul the organisation at various levels.