Kolkata | Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today carried out a major reshuffle in the party set-up, giving additional responsibilities to her close confidants and elevating former union minister Dinesh Trivedi to vice-president’s post in an exercise that left her close aide Mukul Roy out in the cold. Trinamool Congress has appointed Subrata Bakshi, a party MP, as additional all-India general secretary. He is a founder-member of the party, party secretary-general Partha Chatterjee told reporters after the meeting.
Mukul Roy, who has been made to share responsibility as all-India general secretary with Bakshi, a staunch Mamata loyalist, was conspicuous by his absence from the closed-door meeting convened at Mamata’s residence to discuss the partys preparedness for the coming civic polls.
Roy, a Rajya Sabha member who was recently quizzed by CBI in the Saradha chit fund scam, not being given additional responsibilities that were given to some of his party colleagues, came amid media speculation of strained ties between him and the party supremo.
Asked to explain the absence of Roy, a key party organiser, Chatterjee said he (Roy) is busy with political activities and has been absent at the meeting by taking prior permission from the party.
Roy had recently said that he was part and parcel of the party, when asked if there was a rift between him and the party leadership.
He also participated in the party’s campaign for the by-election to Bongaon Lok Sabha and Krishnaganj Assembly seats in West Bengal which was held yesterday.
Chatterjee said party MP Derek O’Brien, state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim and party Lok Sabha member Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar were elevated to the national committee of the party.
He said O’Brien and the party Lok Sabha member Kalyan Banerjee would liason with like-minded parties.
Later, in an informal conversation with reporters, Roy said replying to a question on the reason for his absence in the meeting Why I did not go, the party leader (Mamata Banerjee) knows. Anyway, whatever is done is done for the good.
Told about the additional responsibilities given to his party colleagues, he said the party has become big and the organisation has become large and for that they (some of his party colleaugues) might have been given those (additional responsibilities).
Roy’s explanation was prompted by persistent queries whether he thought his wings had been clipped by the party supremo in the latest organisational overhaul.
Mamata was reportedly upset about the absence of Roy in today’s meeting.
Party insiders said that at the start of the meeting, Mamata wanted to know where Mukul was. At that stage, sources said, Derek O’Brien gave her a chit wherein Roy reportedly expressed his inability to attend the meeting due to preoccupation with political activities.
Mukul Roy, known for his organisational acumen, was questioned by CBI on January 30 in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam. He had said that he wanted the actual truth to come out. He also gave an assurance that he would cooperate with the probe agency. CBI and Enforcement Directorate have already questioned several TMC MPs and other people in the scam which put TMC at unease.
Partha Chatterjee said that the TMC was assuming national importance, pointing out we started the membership drive on January 1, 2015. Scrutiny committees will operate at district and state level.
In the meeting, Chatterjee said, coming municipal elections were also discussed, for which committees have been formed. Election to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and a number of municipalities across the state are scheduled to be held this year.