TMC begins purging members who have filed nominations against official candidatestext_fields
West Bengal: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has cracked down on 'rebels' within the party, beginning with suspensions and expulsions of party members who have not withdrawn nominations filed against the party's official candidates for the February 27 polls at 108 civic bodies spread across Bengal. The polls will be held at around 2,200 seats.
TMC state secretary general Partha Chatterjee announced at Nadia district on Thursday that these 'independent' candidates will be summarily expelled if they do not give it in writing that they are quitting the race in support of the official candidates. "The expulsions will be effective even if they win seats," Chatterjee told the media.
The issue has erupted following the publication fo a controversial list of candidates as well as Mamata Banerjee taking the reigns of the party fully into her hands. A social media feud has erupted between followers of Mamata and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee after Abhishek was stripped of his post as party general secretary.
Abhishek found a place in the new committee that comprises of close aides of the Chief Minister, after TMC top leaders gave her in writing that they want her to take all decisions on issues ranging from policy matters to finance. The old national working committee has been dissolved and 2 new members have been named by CM Mamata Banerjee.
Around 100 TMC candidates are still contesting as 'independents' in the civic polls according to party officials, and they have still not withdrawn their nominations despite the deadline set by the state election commission ending a week earlier. According to TMC officials, such strict action is unprecedented in the recent history of the party.
TMC legislator Manas Bhunia said that dissidents had been warned to withdraw their nominations and recant within 48 hours or face the consequences, the Hindustan Times reported.
More than 20 expulsion and suspension orders were issued till Wednesday night. As many as 17 'rebel' candidates were suspended in West Midnapore and Jhargram districts and two leaders were stripped of their portfolios.
Primarily seen as a discord between the TMC's youth and old brigade, the divisions surfaced on February 4 when two lists of candidates for elections to the state's 112 civic bodies were released. Polls at four of these civic bodies were held on February 4 and the TMC won.
The list approved by chief minister Mamata Banerjee was physically released by Partha Chatterjee. The controversial list was uploaded almost simultaneously on the party's Facebook and Twitter page. Discrepancies in around 150 of 2270 names in the two lists triggered agitations in 19 Bengal districts. Although the controversial list was removed from the social media pages on February 13 many of those named in it did not withdraw their nomination.