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Senior leaders’ remarks put TMC leadership a spot

TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. File

TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. File

Rumblings within the Trinamool Congress have put the party leadership in a fix, with two senior leaders over the past few days publicly airing differences.

Senior MP and the party’s chief whip in Lok Sabha Kalyan Banerjee created a flutter after he questioned claims of TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee’s ‘Diamond Harbour model’ for controlling COVID-19 in his parliamentary constituency.

“What is the Diamond Harbour model,” Mr. Kalyan Banerjee had asked, questioning why football tournaments were organised by the MP in Diamond Harbour at the start of the New Year if he was serious about COVID management. “There can be many functionaries in the party but my leader is Mamata Banerjee,” Mr. Kalyan Banerjee had added.

The MP from Srirampur and senior advocate at the Calcutta High Court also asked whether the remarks of the party general secretary that polls to civic bodies in the State be postponed had the approval of the party leadership.

On Monday, while Mr. Abhishek Banerjee left for poll bound Goa, the controversy refused to die down. Mr. Banerjee took to social media emphasising the success of ‘Diamond Harbour model’ pointing out that “despite its close proximity with Gangasagar and Kolkata, Diamond Harbour PC maintains a positivity rate below 3 %”.

In Srirampur meanwhile, anonymous posters came up against Mr. Kalyan Banerjee, demanding that there should be a new MP for the constituency.

With Mr. Abhishek Banerjee assuming a growing role in the party, second only to party chairperson Mamata Banerjee after the TMC’s victory in Assembly elections last year, criticism against the party general secretary has been rare.

However, Mr. Kalyan Banerjee is not alone. Another senior Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra, who has considerable influence on social media, has over the past few days said there is no place where party leaders can air their opinions or differences.

When, in response, party secretary general Partha Chatterjee, who is in charge of the disciplinary committee, said leaders should avoid making public statements, Mr. Mitra said he was ready to air his opinion to the security guard of the TMC leader, provided the person is willing to listen.

“Mamata Banerjee is emerging as an alternative to the BJP and Abhishek Banerjee is representative of the youth. But there is no place where we can reach out..,” Mr. Mitra, a former minister, said.

Political observers feel that since both Mr. Kalyan Banerjee and Mr. Madan Mitra are TMC veterans, it may be difficult for the party to take any disciplinary action against them. However, their regular utterances are leading to some red faces in the party.

West Bengal BJP leader Dilip Ghosh took at the swipe at the TMC by saying that “It is Modi ji ( Prime Minister Narendra Modi) who keeps holding ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme. We are happy that there are many who are airing their Mann ki Baat in the Trinamool Congress.”

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 12:15:50 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/senior-leaders-remarks-put-tmc-leadership-a-spot/article38283806.ece