KOLKATA: Poll-strategist Prashant Kishor‘s inputs and his team’s year-long assessment of the ground realities have played a key role in effecting one of the biggest reshuffles in the TMC leadership in the recent times, party sources said on Friday.
Eyes set on the 2021 assembly polls, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday carried out a major organisational rejig in the party, inducting several new faces and axing some old guards, with a thrust on strengthening the party in areas where it has yielded ground to the BJP.
According to TMC sources, this is one of the biggest reshuffles the party has ever witnessed.
“The inputs of Prashant Kishor and his team I-PAC played a significant role in this reshuffle. However, Mamata Banerjee’s decision is supreme. But Kishor and his team have worked as eyes and ears of Banerjee in this regard,” a senior TMC leader said on the condition of anonymity.
According to TMC sources, apart from a ground-level survey over a year, a report regarding the performance of districts and its leadership during the ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ (Tell Didi) mass outreach programme was also taken into account before carrying out the reshuffle.
“Regarding the appointment of new and young faces, a separate survey was conducted to find out about their acceptability among masses and the party’s rank and file. All these details were submitted to the party’s top brass a few months ago,” another TMC leader said.
In what came as a surprise move for some, Banerjee appointed Chhatradhar Mahato, a former leader of the Maoist-backed PCAPA, to the party’s state committee.
During a party meeting, she also announced the formation of a 21-member state coordination committee and a seven-member core panel, which is a first for the TMC.
Mahato’s appointment is believed to have been made in a bid to revive the organisation in the Junglemahal region, where the BJP made big gains in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Apart from handing over the baton to the new and young faces in at least 10 districts, Banerjee also inducted some sulking and disgruntled leaders. Rajib Banerjee and Sadhan Pande, who have been vocal against the party. got inducted in state committee and state coordination committee, respectively.
Several district presidents, including of Howrah, Coochbehar, Purulia, Nadia, Jhargram, Bankura and South Dinajpur, were removed, and new faces were given charge there.
The reshuffle has been done keeping in mind several factors, the senior party leader said.
Firstly, areas where the BJP has gained ground were taken note of. Second, in areas where there have been several complaints of infighting, both old and young leaders were given charges corresponding to their abilities.
“An attempt has also been made to give disgruntled but effective leaders essential roles,” the TMC leader, who is privy to the goings-on, said.
A change in leadership in Bankura, Nadia, Purulia, Jhargram, Coochbehar and South Dinajpur was felt necessary as the saffron party has eaten into the TMC’s vote share in these areas, he said.
In some other districts, too, including Howrah, a change of guard is in the offing as the top brass wants to put an end to the infighting as it was taking a heavy toll on the party’s prospects, the senior TMC leader said.
West Bengal is scheduled to go to polls in April-May next year with Banerjee completing a decade in office.
The rejig in the party was expected, given the growing challenge from the BJP, which emerged as the main opposition party by winning 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2019, bringing down the TMC to 22 from 34.


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