There is a theory that every political party in the country sooner or later imbibes the congress culture. The all so familiar story of factionalism, dynastic politics and rebels props up. A case in point is the recent infighting in BJP. So it is no surprise that 17 years after its inception some of those follies are also creeping into Trinamool Congress. Ironically it is the grand old party which is most eager to take advantage of these chinks in ruling party’s armour.
Ticket distribution has been a major issue of discontent in TMC. According to naysayers, in quite a few places didi was forced to put celebrity candidates to quell dissent. The move has worked in some places but has also lead to much heartburn especially in Malda. But the way Abhisekh Banerjee, didi’s nephew was given a ticket has not gone down well with some party cadres. Abhisekh was earlier given responsibility of Trinamool Yuva but failed to make a mark. Now at the age of 26, he has been made a candidate from Diamond Harbour. In a recent rally, state Congress chief Adhir Choudhary floated a trial balloon by questioning the rationale behind Didi’s ticket distribution. Adhir said that Mamata Banerjee has gone back on her own words by giving ticket to a family member. He raised the question that why can’t senior leader Mukul Roy’s son Subhranghu get a ticket. To add fuel to the fire, Adhir said that though Mukul Roy is instrumental in holding the party machinery together he is not getting his due.
Mukul, the number 2
Trinamool Congress for a very long time didn’t had a deputed no 2. It still doesn’t, but slowly Mukul Roy has sort of become the unofficial deputy. Mukul Roy is the general secretary of TMC. A wily politician, Mukul is didi’s Man friday . He is widely perceived to be the man who arranges finances for the party. It is unlikely Adhir’s attempt to wedge difference will actually lead to any bad blood. But rumours of Didi slightly miffed with Mukul Roy over the Anna Hazare fiasco has been going on for a while. While Mukul and K.D.Singh brokered to get Anna’s endorsement for Didi, finally the whole thing fell flat. It is said that the two leaders couldn’t properly gauge the political power left in the veteran freedom fighter. Thus didi was left embarrassed when she reached Ramleela Maidan.
Unscathed by criticism
The rise of Mukul Roy in Trinamool Congress has been truly astounding. His ability of being the unassuming backroom boy has earned him the confidence of Mamata. Whereas more popular mass leaders like Sougata Roy and Subrata Mukherjee’s fortunes have fluctuated, Mukul’s star has been in constant ascendancy. When didi relinquished Railway Ministry to become C.M of Bengal, she personally recommended the post for his aide. Manmohan Singh though was not too convinced with Mukul’s credentials and only made him a Minister of State. He was subsequently shunted to the shipping ministry but nobody could rock his boat in the party hierarchy. Before last assembly election, Mukul Roy was accused by CPIM leader Goutam Deb of misleading Election Commission about origins of funds. Disgraced TMC leader Kunal Ghosh has also traded guns against didi’s trusted lieutenant. But everything seems to have fallen wayside thanks to didi’s unflinching support.
Mamata is a stickler for discipline and is known to be ruthless quelling any signs of dissent at a very nascent stage. People like Somen Mitra, Sudeep Banerjee and Dinesh Trivedi have all bore the brunt of it. It is unlikely Mukul will go down that path. All this has done is to expose Adhir’s plan to engineer a possible split in TMC.