Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee Saturday effected a series of organisational reshuffles in what is being termed as a move to clip the wings of her one-time second in command Mukul Roy.
Roy, a former railway minister, has seemingly fallen out with Banerjee after his interrogation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the multi-crore rupee Saradha ponzi scam.
Banerjee, who presided over a meeting of presidents of various district committees and heads of frontal organisations as also senior leaders, appointed party state unit chief Subrata Bakshi as an additional national general secretary. Roy was so far the only Trinamool national general secretary and wielded enormous power in the party organisation.
Roy was absent from the meeting at Banerjee’s Kalighat office.
Roy has distanced himself from the party and shied away from attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party over the past few weeks. Credited as the architect of Trinamool’s stunning electoral victories in recent years, he played a minor role in Friday’s by-poll to Bongaon Lok Sabha and Krishnaganj assembly constituencies.
Party secretary general Partha Chatterjee, who briefed the media after the meeting at Banerjee’s office-cum-residence at Kalighat, announced the formation of a national secretariat and named Derek O’Brien, Firhad Hakim and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar as its members.
On Roy’s absence, Chatterjee said he was busy with political activities and had taken prior permission.
While Roy so long supervised the party affairs in other states, Banerjee appointed various leaders to oversee party organisations in other parts of the country.
Veteran leader Subrata Mukherjee has been given the charge of Tripura, Suvendu Adhikari would oversee organisational activities in Assam, with O’Brien looking after the party organisation in the other northeastern states and Kerala.
In a bid to placate Dinesh Trivedi, who recently went out of his way to profusely praise Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Banerjee appointed him as one of the vice presidents.
O’Brien and Kalyan Banerjee have been entrusted with the responsibility to keep in touch with like-minded parties and oversee parliamentary functions.
Another instance of Roy’s sidelining was the announcement that Banerjee would give the final approval for the party candidate list for the upcoming municipal polls. So long, Roy used to play a major role in screening candidates.
Chatterjee also said the party has decided that one can now become an associate or active member by paying Rs.50,000, which will be renewable every 5 years.