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Mamata & Her TMC Manush: Tapas Roy Jolts Party Amid Old vs New Guard, Defections and Jailed Leaders – News18


With its veteran leader and MLA Tapas Roy resigning from his post citing “corruption” in the party and “humiliation” faced by him following a raid by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in January, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is witnessing an “implosion” before the election, yet again.

“Since 2019, the TMC has been witnessing such implosions before the elections,” said a senior TMC leader, who is believed to be close to West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. “Mukul Roy defected before the 2019 general elections and took several of our leaders, including some MLAs with him. Later, before the 2021 elections, Suvendu Adhikari jumped ship. He, too, took his coterie along. I can’t say that it did not hurt the party, because it did,” said the leader.

ALSO READ | ‘52 Days Since ED Raid, Didi Hasn’t Called Me Yet!’ Tapas Roy on Why He Quit TMC, Next Move | Exclusive

“The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rose to 18 seats from two in 2019, and from three to 77 in 2021. Their vote share rose too. We have been trying to fix this for long. But intra-party issues linger, not only at the state level, but at district and block levels too. We do not have a regimented structure, but our central command system needs to be worked on. Roy created a parallel structure when he was in the party, similar things are happening again. Our senior and junior colleagues need to realise that our supreme leader is Mamata Banerjee. Nothing and nobody can change that. She is our party, she is Trinamool. She is the super power of West Bengal,” he added.

Factional feuds, intra-party clashes and building parallel structures over profit and power sharing are not new in the TMC. However, this time, a series of events happened in a different manner, which gives the whole episode a shape of a proxy war between the old and new guard. “And there is a pattern,” say senior Trinamool leaders.

THE ‘PROXIES’ AND ‘PATTERN’

First, the series of incidents. Three days before Roy’s resignation, party’s senior leader Kunal Ghosh, who is known to be close to Abhishek Banerjee, party’s national general secretary and MP, announced on social media platforms that he had resigned from the position of the state general secretary and spokesperson. Ghosh added that he was a “misfit” in the system. His words were sharp, significant and politically sensitive.

Hours later, he accused the party’s three-term MP from north Kolkata and a veteran, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, of colluding with the BJP. While talking to media, he also said that Bandyopadhyay resembles ‘Shajahan’. All of these were public statements made by a senior leader of the party against another very senior leader.

ALSO READ | TMC’s Kunal Ghosh Says He Wants to Quit Party Posts, Slams MP Sudip Bandopadhyay

Interestingly, Ghosh was not restrained by the senior leadership for three days, as he continued to speak, maintaining that he would always work as a “soldier” of the TMC. Three days later, Roy resigned from the party and his position as an MLA, stating that he was “humiliated” as the party did not stand by him after the ED raided his residence on January 12. He cited “corruption and Sandeshkhali” incidents among other reasons. Ghosh received a ‘show-cause notice’ from the party on Monday, while he was meeting Roy at his residence.

Requesting anonymity, a senior TMC leader and MP said, “Tapas Roy’s issues are personal. He took offence at the fact that no senior leader called or consoled him after the ED raid. He also has other grievances, which he could not mention. He was looking for an important position in the organisation, which he could not get. All these issues piled up and he did what he did. We know for a fact that he was provoked. That is worrying. And, the party needs to address that.”

THE OLD GUARD: ‘DOWN OR OUT’

A look at Banerjee’s team of her old and loyal colleagues shows how Didi’s trusted lieutenants are either in jail or out of favour. Senior leaders namely Mukul Roy, Anubrato Mondal, Jyotipriyo Mallick, Sovan Chatterjee, Partha Chatterjee, Suvendu Adhikari and many others are not there. Mondal, who used to manage funds and cadre and controlled a major part of western region, including Birbhum and Burdwan, is in jail. Mallick, who used to be Didi’s another loyal general and supervised North 24 Parganas, a major part of Didi’s south Bengal fort, is also in jail.

Chatterjee, ex-industry and education minister, too, is in jail. Sovan Chatterjee, Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari defected. The BJP has now pitted Adhikari against the chief minister and her nephew. Roy returned to the TMC after spending a long time in the BJP, but he is extremely unwell and not in a position to contribute to the party, said a source.

ALSO READ | Lonely ‘Didi’ & ‘Fallen’ Generals: Mamata’s ‘Ekla Cholo Re’ Mantra as Trusted Lieutenants Face Probe Heat

Sovan Chatterjee, who was in charge of South 24 Parganas quit the party, joined the BJP for some time and is now inactive in politics. There are several other leaders in state and district structure who have either quit or changed sides.

In this situation, a new leadership led by Abhishek has emerged. On several occasions, West Bengal has witnessed public spats between the old and new leadership. However, every time, it was managed by a group of senior leaders calling it “speculation” or “media conjecture”.



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