Two days after he triggered a controversy by sharing the dais with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal state Congress leader Subrata Mukherjee was removed as chief party spokesperson.
"Mukherjee (state Congress executive president) has been removed from the post of spokesperson," Pradip Bhattacharya, the other executive president of the state party, told IANS here.
The decision was taken by state party president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, Bhattacharya said.
Bhattacharya has been made the chief spokesperson, Dasmunsi said in a fax message.
Mukherjee has also been asked to explain why he attended the Sep 16 rally in Singur alongside Banerjee.
Mukherjee, a former Kolkata mayor, surprised political circles when he travelled to Singur in Banerjee's car and addressed a meeting called by the Trinamool-led peasants protesting against the "forcible" acquisition of farmland for the Tata Nano project.
Dasmunsi told the media that Mukherjee participated in the Trinamool rally disregarding his request not to do so. "Whoever wants to leave our party may do so. It won't affect us," Dasmunsi said.
Mukherjee, a firebrand student leader of the 1960s and 1970s, had deserted the Congress to join the Trinamool in the late 1990s. He became the city major in 2000 as the Trinamool nominee, but on the completion of his five-year term he floated an independent platform to contest the civic body polls following differences with Banerjee.
He won the polls, though his outfit fared miserably. Later, Mukherjee came back to the Congress.
Mukherjee was made the state Congress executive president months back after his mentor from his student union days Dasmunsi took over as the party's provincial chief.
Observers feel Mukherjee is upset at the growing importance of Dasmunsi's wife and legislative assembly member Deepa in organisational matters. He was also unhappy over Bhattacharya being made an executive president along with him.
There is also speculation that Mukherjee could be eyeing a Lok Sabha seat from Kolkata, where the Trinamool has a strong base. The general elections are scheduled to be held next year.