In West Bengal, the incumbent Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee is having to face a multi-dimensional headache in the runup to the state assembly election early next year. Already, the party has to deal with the tremendous saffron juggernaut of the BJP which has proven its efficacy in winning seats from the state in the Lok Sabha polls of last year itself. Additionally, the TMC is being battered by almost daily rebellions, as senior and influential party leaders and sitting MLAs take to voicing their anger against the party for what it has become. A major chunk of leaders disgruntled with the TMC is said to be particularly distressed by the influence of number-cruncher Prashant Kishor and Mamata’s nephew, Abhishek Banerjee.
Prashant Kishor has taken upon himself, much of the organisational decision-making, within the TMC. Further, the number cruncher who likes to be addressed as a ‘poll strategist’ has got a lot of reshuffling done within the TMC, causing many senior leaders of the party to be either side-lined, or left feeling insecure. Already, TMC’s second-in command by all estimates, Suvendu Adhikari has minced no words in taking on the party, and has broken out in open revolt. Now, at least three more TMC legislators from Bengal are taking on the party high command and Prashant Kishor. It would not be an overstatement to say that the same Kishor who had gone to Bengal to ensure a TMC victory in 2021 is becoming the single-most detrimental factor for the party in the state.
Mihir Goswami, the senior legislator from Cooch Behar South constituency who relinquished all organizational responsibilities in October and said he was ready to resign from the assembly as well, on Tuesday wrote a long post on social media. He said that he tolerated many insults and adverse situations since 1989 but never left the TMC only because of Didi, reported Hindustan Times. “This is no longer Didi’s party. She is aloof. That is why Didi’s men are no longer required. If you have to stay, you have to be a ‘yes man’ or else, leave,” wrote Goswami. In a significant statement, the sitting TMC MLA added, “My party is no longer in the hands of my leader. This can no longer be my party.”
Jagadish Chandra Barma Basunia, TMC MLA from Sitai constituency in Cooch Behar has meanwhile come out in open support of Goswami, and questioned internal changes being made at the behest of Kishor and his team.“Responsibilities are being given to leaders who helped the BJP in the last election. This will severely affect the TMC’s prospects in 2021. Goswami is being insulted by some people in the party. There is a conspiracy to throw him out. He is a senior and experienced leader,” said Basunia.
TMC legislator from Hariharpara in Murshidabad, Niamot Sheikh trained guns on the much-touted ‘poll-strategist’. “Prashant Kishor is the cause of all trouble. Suvendu Adhikari revived the party in Murshidabad. And now leaders who talk to him are facing action,” Sheikh said at the rally. It, therefore, becomes clear beyond doubt that Prashant Kishor wielding unnecessarily more power than required within the TMC is resulting in multiple rebellions breaking out in the party ranks.
TFI had earlier reported how in a recent cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, at least four top ministers were absent, which was unusual, to say the least. The absentee ministers were Rajib Banerjee, Gautam Deb and Rabindra Nath Ghosh. Suvendu Adhikari too was absent at the latest cabinet meeting chaired by Mamata Banerjee.
Prashant Kishor and his team of number crunchers have therefore become more of a liability than an asset for the TMC. Almost all party rebels have voiced their apprehensions about Kishor playing a larger than life role in the TMC. Coupled with the hegemony of Mamata Banerjee and her nephew, the TMC is headed down a very slippery slope. Months before the election in the state, the incumbent party facing such an unmitigated crisis is going to give its supremo many sleepless nights.