Bengal CM Mamata and Prashant Kishor Plan Strategy to Control Rebel TMC Minister
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her election strategist Prashant Kishor are trying to control the rebel party heavyweight and Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari and his aides in the districts through talks and pressure tactics.
His efforts showed some apparent signs of success on Friday night when the minister made no controversial remarks in the public programs he attended.
Earlier this week, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders told HT on condition of anonymity that Adhikari is unhappy with Banerjee’s nephew and Lok Sabha member Abhishek Banerjee and Kishor for making recent organizational changes and wants that the party present the candidates of its choice at the 65th assembly. seats spread over various districts. This is unacceptable to leadership.
Assembly elections in Bengal are due to take place in about six months. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, has said its doors are open for Adhikari if he is serious about switching sides. Many TMC leaders joined the BJP before and after the polls. Like some of them, the Minister of Transport is also mentioned in the CBI FIR in the case of the Narada sting operation.
Kishor, who was caught by Banerjee after the debacle of the Lok Sabha elections, drove from Calcutta to Adhikari’s home in Kanthi in the East Midnapore district on Thursday night. The minister, who issued a veiled challenge to the TMC from a large demonstration on Tuesday, was not present at home. Kishor spoke for more than two hours with his father Sisir Adhikari, the oldest member of TMC’s Lok Sabha representing the Kanthi constituency.
TMC leaders mindful of the development said Kishor conveyed to Adhikari that the leadership might consider discussing the minister’s demand for tickets for the assembly elections for some of his supporters if he stops acting against the party. In a parallel move, the prime minister called the district leaders and said that no one should make any statements against Adhikari or his family. Suvendu Adhikari’s brother, Dibyendu, is a member of Lok Sabha of Tamluk, while Soumendu, the youngest of the three brothers, is president of Kanthi Township.
The strategy apparently paid off within 24 hours. Adhikari did not say a word against the TMC while addressing people at the inauguration of a Kali Pujas community in Bankura district on Friday evening. The minister’s followers, however, had put up posters in their support in the town of Bankura. Similar posters, showing Adhikari’s image without any mention of the TMC, have appeared in various districts in southern and northern Bengal since last month.
“Kishor had a conversation with Suvendu’s father. Differences, if any, will be resolved, ”said Saugata Roy, member of TMC Lok Sabha and party spokesperson. Suvendu Adhikari avoided the media.
The breach in the TMC came to light on Tuesday when the Transport Minister addressed a rally organized by his supporters at Nandigram in East Midnapore in memory of party workers killed 13 years ago in a violent upheaval over land that helped to Banerjee to overthrow the government of the Left Front. . There was not a single TMC flag or photograph of Banerjee in place. This angered the leaders and Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim rushed to Nandigram the same day to address a demonstration against it. He referred to Adhikari as a traitor without mentioning his name.
“Journalists and political observers expect me to announce my political program. They want to hear me talk about the obstacles I face and the path I am going to take. I will not announce my political program from this sacred platform. I will speak from a political platform. I am not afraid of anyone. We will meet on the battlefield, ”Adhikari said at Tuesday’s rally.
Leaving something to think about, he ended his short speech with the slogan “Bharat Mata Zindabad” (long live the homeland) which seemed to be an improvisation of the Hindi slogan put up by the BJP leaders. TMC leaders, including Banerjee, end their speech by saying “Jai Bangla” (Bengal victory). Interestingly, Adhikari also said this.