Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee may give more organizational responsibility to her nephew and the party’s youth wing president Abhishek Banerjee, senior leaders said before the TMC’s strategy meeting in Kolkata on Saturday. The young Lok Sabha MP is seen in the party as the chief minister’s political heir.
This is the ruling party’s first big meeting after the assembly polls in which the TMC bagged 213 seats against 77 won by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Bengal has 294 seats. The Congress and the Left parties could not win a single seat. This has turned the state’s political scenario into a bipolar one for the first time since Independence.
TMC leaders said Banerjee has asked all senior leaders to be present at the TMC headquarters where the next course of action will be decided. She will also make some important organizational announcements.
“We are waiting for the outcome of Saturday’s meet. Only the party chief will take the final call in regard to projection of young leaders which has been the salient part of the TMC’s internal strategy since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in which the BJP bagged 18 of the state’s 42 seats and our tally went down from 34 to 22,” a senior TMC leader said on condition of anonymity.
The chief minister and Abhishek Banerjee became the BJP’s prime targets in the campaign speeches of all leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah, during the eight-phase elections. They were referred to as pishi (aunt) and bhaipo (nephew) in almost all speeches and the chief minister was accused of establishing dynastic rule.
The BJP has also alleged that Abhishek Banerjee is involved in the coal smuggling case that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing. The investigation got a boost on December 31, when the agency raided the residences of businessman and TMC youth front general secretary Vinay Mishra. He has been declared an absconder.
It is alleged that illegally mined coal, worth several thousand crores of rupees, have been sold in the black market over several years by a racket operating in the western parts of Bengal where the Eastern Coalfields Limited runs several mines.
The CBI has already questioned Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee and her sister Maneka Gambhir. The latter’s husband, Ankush Arora and his father Pawan Arora have also been interrogated.