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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Didi looking to stem rot with image makeover

Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, January 19, 2013
First Published: 14:40 IST(19/1/2013) | Last Updated: 14:41 IST(19/1/2013)

Faced with a tide of rising criticism and the upcoming panchayat and Lok Sabha polls, chief minister Mamata Banerjee is preparing to stem the rot in her party with a youthoriented image makeover.

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Leaders Firhad Hakim, 52, Suvendu Adhikari, 42, Abhishek Banerjee, 25, and Shanku Deb Panda, 29, are now being feted as the future faces of the Trinamool Congress and will head the party’s new and improved youth brigade. Apart from being put in charge of the upcoming elections, these leaders will also feature prominently at a mammoth meet scheduled in February to be attended by the Youth Trinamool Congress, Trinamool Chattra Parishad and All-India Trinamool Yuva.

Interestingly, at its ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Jaipur, the Congress high command, too, stressed the importance of youth leaders playing a major part in the preparations for the Lok Sabha polls.

“Our party chief, Mamata Banerjee, is always in favour of youth. We’ll focus on projecting our youth leaders before the panchahyat and Lok Sabha elections. They will be the faces of our party in combating not only the conspiracy hatched by a section of the media and opposition parties, but also in reaching out to the people,” a senior MP close to the chief minister told HindustanTimes.

Party sources said the hitherto second-rung youth leaders would now gain prominence and become the voices of the party in campaigns across rural and urban areas. They added that the chief minister would outline their specific duties at the Trinamool’s mega meet in February.

“We want our youth and student leaders to jointly go for campaigns throughout the state and even outside. Our chief will outline the duties and vital responsibilities of the new leaders before the bypolls and panchayat elections,” a Trinamool core committee member revealed.

Adhikari, MP and president of the Trinamool Youth Congress, is already spearheading rallies across multiple districts in the run up to the panchayat polls. He was also handed a major role in the recently concluded Bengal Leads investment summit in Haldia.Firhad Hakim has been elevated to the position of being an official spokesman of the state government.

It was Hakim who briefed the media during the recent controversial episodes involving Arabul Islam and the violence in Bhangar. The minority leader is also overseeing the party’s youth and student wings.

Journalist-turned-politician Shanku Deb Panda is expected to be given additional responsibilities and will play a more prominent role in rallying students around him as the head of the Trinamool Chattra Parishad. Under him, the party has won elections in more than 400 colleges, apart from seven universities, since coming to power. Party sources believe that Panda has also successfully tackled the issue of campus violence in the state.

Abhishek Banerjee, who is Mamata’s nephew and the leader of the All-India Trinamool Yuva, will also play a major role in the upcoming polls. After routing the Left Front, Mamata formed the Trinamool Congress Yuva to target youths and students throughout the country. Abhishek is also responsible for the party’s cyber team.

They added that the chief minister would outline their specific duties at the Trinamool’s mega meet in February.

“We want our youth and student leaders to jointly go for campaigns throughout the state and even outside. Our chief will outline the duties and vital responsibilities of the new leaders before the bypolls and panchayat elections,” a Trinamool core committee member revealed.

Adhikari, MP and president of the Trinamool Youth Congress, is already spearheading rallies across multiple districts in the run up to the panchayat polls. He was also handed a major role in the recently concluded Bengal Leads investment summit in Haldia.Firhad Hakim has been elevated to the position of being an official spokesman of the state government.

It was Hakim who briefed the media during the recent controversial episodes involving Arabul Islam and the violence in Bhangar. The minority leader is also overseeing the party’s youth and student wings.

Journalist-turned-politician Shanku Deb Panda is expected to be given additional responsibilities and will play a more prominent role in rallying students around him as the head of the Trinamool Chattra Parishad. Under him, the party has won elections in more than 400 colleges, apart from seven universities, since coming to power. Party sources believe that Panda has also successfully tackled the issue of campus violence in the state.

Abhishek Banerjee, who is Mamata’s nephew and the leader of the All-India Trinamool Yuva, will also play a major role in the upcoming polls. After routing the Left Front, Mamata formed the Trinamool Congress Yuva to target youths and students throughout the country. Abhishek is also responsible for the party’s cyber team.


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