Doubts on Mamata’s control deepen with ‘unauthorised’ nominations

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Despite being not approved by the two deputies appointed by the Trinamool Congress,candidates from two municipalities – Diamond Harbour Municipality and Budge Budge Municipality – filed their nominations, making room for doubt over Chairperson Mamata Banerjee’s control over the party.

Interestingly both the municipalities fall under Diamond Harbour Parliamentary constituency, from where Chief Minister’s nephew and the party’s national General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee is the MP.

Not only that, the coordinator for South 24 Parganas state Minister Arup Biswas, who was nominated by the Chief Minister herself, was suddenly replaced by Kunal Ghosh and Soukat Mollah, who are considered to be close to Abhishek Banerjee.

According to party insiders, the fall-out was a result of the differences between Mamata Banerjee and her nephew and led to the fiasco over list of candidates for the upcoming polls in the state’s 108 civic bodies.

One list, which was approved by the Chief Minister, was physically released by the party’s Secretary General Partha Chatterjee and national Vice President Subrata Bakshi, while the other was uploaded on the party’s Facebook page and Twitter handle. Though there was no official confirmation who was responsible for uploading the list, several party leaders believe that I-PAC – the professional group of election strategist Prashant Kishor – hired by the party before the assembly polls was behind it.

Kolkata Mayor and Mamata Banerjee’s close aide, Firhad Hakim, said the second list was uploaded by people who were given unauthorised access to the party’s digital media passwords, indicating strongly that I-PAC was behind it.

Even as Mamata Banerjee, before going to Uttar Pradesh for Samajwadi Party’s election campaign, made it clear that the list released by Chatterjee and Bakshi was official, but even after that the so-called non-authenticated list not only existed on the digital platforms like Twitter and Facebook but even the candidates from that list filed their nominations.

The Trinamool supremo is not happy with the “unnecessary” interference of Kishor and I-PAC was evident when she gave a dry ‘Thank You’ in a reply to his request that he doesn’t want to work with the Trinamool in West Bengal, Tripura, and Meghalaya. But senior Trinamool leaders believe that by merely severing ties with I-PAC will not ease out the situation, and rather the problem is much more complicated and deep-rooted.

Meanwhile, one of Abhishek Banerjee’s close associates, who also happens to be the observer for Budge Budge Municipality seat, Jahangir Khan told the media while conducting a rally with one of the controversial candidates – “We need to make Abhishek Banerjee’s hand stronger”.

Few hours later, the state home department withdrew the ‘Y’ category security which he had been enjoying for the last two years. Undeterred, Jahangir, however continued on with the candidates who are not approved by the Chief Minister.

“In the history of Trinamool Congress this has never happened. No one has ever dared to ignore the directives of the Chief Minister. The problem is very serious and if the Mamata doesn’t step in to control the situation then it might go out of her hand,” a senior party leader said.

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