The factionalism in the Trinamool Congress’s Birbhum unit has now become even more public and pronounced. Two of the factions — one led by district TMC president Anubrata Mondal and the other by Trinamool Congress MLA from Suri, Swapan Ghosh — recently approached the Calcutta High Court, asking it to determine which of them is the real TMC.
Since 2008, the party has been divided into three prominent factions — one led by Mondal, another presently led by Ghosh and the third by Kajal Sheikh, brother of Ketugram MLA Sheikh Swanaz.
Sources add that the division in the party has been an open secret for all. Everyone — from grassroots level workers to party supremo Mamata Banerjee — is aware of it. And though the state leadership has faced many an unwarranted situation because of it, no steps have been taken to deal with it.
In a distinct division of the party, the public representatives from the district belong to the three different factions. For example, state fisheries minister Chandranath Sinha, Labhpur MLA Manirul Islam, state animal resource development minister Nure Alam Choudhury and some other leaders are ‘close’ to Mondal whereas Rampurhat MLA Asish Banerjee and Birbhum MP Shatabdi Roy belong to the Ghosh camp. Nanoor MLA Gadadhar Hazra is a Kajal Sheikh loyalist. While Mondal has been leading the party since 2000, Ghosh joined TMC in 2009, months before the general elections. Kajal Sk joined party after his brothers were brutally murdered, allegedly by the Left.
When asked, Abdul Kerim Khan, a district committee member of TMC, said, “No one can deny that without the leadership of Anubrata Mondal, our party wouldn’t have developed such a stronghold in the district. Our leader Mamata Banerjee is aware of this.”
A senior district committee member of Suri said, “Swapan Ghosh is well aware of Mondal’s contribution to the party. But he loves power and wants to control the district unit.”
In fact, the situation was such that during the time of filing nomination for the rural polls, the state leadership had to send agriculture minister Maloy Ghatak to Birbhum to hold a meeting of all the factions so that the process went off smoothly. When asked about the decision to approach the court, Ghatak refused to comment on the issue. “This news will definitely hamper our campaign,” a TMC leader said.