Many senior TMC leaders feel uneasy about Kishor’s ‘interference’.
New Delhi: Fissures have started to develop between senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders and political advisor to the party, Prashant Kishor, over the alleged interference of the latter in the party’s daily affairs.
Among the top TMC leaders who are feeling uneasy over the “interference” of Kishor and his political advisory group, Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), in the daily affairs of TMC, are party Rajya Sabha Member of Parliaments (MPs) Derek O’Brien and Mahua Moitra who are considered among the closest of all party leaders to party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Multiple TMC and I-PAC sources confirmed to The Sunday Guardian that “some differences” have come up as “few influential” TMC leaders believe that Kishor had started encroaching upon their decision-making powers of the party.
“Kishor has this habit or professional attitude, whatever one wants to call it, of trying to become close to the top boss and in the process nudge out those who are already in the inner circles. He did this with Nitish Kumar, too, when he was working with JDU in Bihar. Such kind of attempts will naturally lead to counter-action,” a senior TMC leader told The Sunday Guardian.
Derek O’ Brien had earlier this week stated that Prashant Kishor and his I-PAC were “distinct” from the TMC and that they were working on objectives that have been given to them by the party for which they have been hired, thereby giving out a clear message to Kishor that he was “encroaching” into hostile territory.
This came just a day after the election results for the Kolkata municipal elections were declared and Kishor’s team was credited by electronic and print media for ensuring the victory of the party. Kolkata-based political observers, who are sympathetic to TMC, told this newspaper that many of the old guard in the TMC are feeling uncomfortable with the fact that Kishor and his team was taking credit for all the work that the party and its workers were doing on the ground.
A section of TMC leaders are also uncomfortable with the fact that a large number of leaders, including former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, and former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro, credited Prashant Kishor rather than to the TMC or Mamata Banerjee for their decision to switch over to the TMC.
Sources in I-PAC confirmed to this newspaper that the team had suggested around 30 names that should be dropped from the list of candidates for the recently concluded KMC polls. However, senior leaders from Kolkata told the core team members of I-PAC to focus only on outreach, communication and social media works and not to meddle in candidate selection and internal party matters.
It is pertinent to mention that Derek O’Brien, through a company, used to manage social media affairs of the TMC until Kishor and his I-PAC took over this responsibility. Kishor, party sources said, enjoyed 100% trust of TMC’s All India General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee, which had added to the discomfort among the other TMC leaders.
TMC, on Thursday, put out a tweet, stating that all is well between the TMC and Kishor. “There is absolutely no merit in the hugely speculative and unsubstantiated reporting regarding the difference of opinion or working relationship between TMC and I-PAC. Under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, we work as one team and will continue to collaborate in the future,” the tweet read.
The tweet came just a day after Derek O’Brien attacked Prashant Kishor. However, this “clarification” has further strengthened the speculation about the internal rift between Kishor and O’Brien, Moitra. Kishor is considered close to Abhishek Banerjee as he started working for the TMC before the 2021 Bengal Assembly elections under the persistence of Banerjee. Later, TMC hired I-PAC for the next five years while giving it the responsibility to change the character of TMC from a regional party to a national one. Currently, the I-PAC is engaged in redrafting the constitution of the TMC.