In an effort to diffuse the rift within the party, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced the new National Working Committee at a meeting held at her residence here, where she not only struck a balance between the newcomers and the old guards, but also increased her control over the party by placing her loyalists at every layer of the organisation.
Last week, the West Bengal Chief Minister had dissolved all the party posts and formed a 20-member working committee.
Though Abhishek Banerjee has been reinstated as the All-India General Secretary of Trinamool, Banerjee has clipped his wings by deputing three National Vice-Presidents — Subrata Bakshi, Chandrima Bhattacharya and Yashwant Sinha — of which the former two are considered to be close to the Chief Minister.
Sinha has been made the Vice-President to give the party a national face. State minister Aroop Biswas has been appointed the Treasurer of the party.
Others who found a place in the new Trinamool National Working Committee are Amit Mitra, Partha Chatterjee, Sudip Bandopadhyay, Anubrata Mondal, Aroop Biswas and Firhad Hakim.
Sinha and Mitra have been given the responsibility of handling the foreign and economic policy of the party.
Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Mahua Moitra will be the new spokespersons of the party, while Kolkata Municipal Corporation Mayor Firhad Hakim, considered to the be the most trusted aide of the Chief Minister, will handle the responsibility of coordinating between the National Working Committee and the party’s chairperson, the Chief Minister herself.
Last week, Banerjee had dissolved the party’s national office-bearer committee, which included her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, and formed a 20-member working committee as rumours of dissent in the ranks blew wide open.
Asserting her firm control over the party, Banerjee packed the new committee with party veterans, while also including Abhishek.
After the meeting, the Trinamool also announced the names of Mayors for three municipal corporations. Krishna Chakraborty will remain the Mayor of Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation; Sabyasachi Dutta, who recently parted ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to return to the Trinamool fold, will be its chairperson.
Bidhan Upadhyay will be the Mayor of Asansol Municipal Corporation, while Ram Chakraborty will be the Mayor of Chandernagore Municipal Corporation.
On February 14, Banerjee had named Gautam Deb as the Mayor of Siliguri Municipal Corporation.
Banerjee’s preference for old loyalists is clear in the selection of Mayors as well. Polls to these four municipal corporations were held on February 12, which were swept by the Trinamool.