With Prashant Kishor’s counsel, Mamata rejigs Trinamool’s battle lines

Sources say poll strategist will plan 2024 roadmap; party elevates Abhishek to post of national general secretary

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor was a special invitee to the Trinamool meeting at which Abhishek Banerjee was elevated to the No 2 post in the party | Photo: PTI

The Trinamool Congress has appointed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek as its national general secretary, as it seeks to expand its organisational footprint beyond West Bengal ahead of the 2024 general election.

A decision to this effect was taken at an organisational meeting of the party, which was attended by, among others, poll strategist Prashant Kishor – who sources said will help formulate the TMC’s general election roadmap.

“In today’s meeting we have also decided to expand our organisations in other states of India,” senior TMC leader Partha Chatterjee said at a post-meeting media briefing.

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Before his elevation to the party’s No 2 position, Abhishek resigned the post of TMC youth president, as the TMC decided to implement a ‘one leader, one post’ policy.

Actor-turned-politician Sayoni Ghosh replaced Abhishek as the youth president.

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“In the meeting, our leader has asked us to get ready to dethrone the BJP-led central government,” TMC legislator Madan Mitra said.

Abhishek, the party’s Diamond Harbour MP, emerged as the second most important mass leader of the TMC after his aunt Mamata in the recently held assembly election.

He addressed more than 150 rallies across the state during the election campaign and also became a prime target of BJP leaders for his alleged involvement in the coal-smuggling scam, which is being investigated by the CBI.

His wife Rujira was grilled by the CBI in connection with the scam in February this year, just a month before the election kicked off.

Abhishek also faced criticism within the party for being instrumental in roping in Prashant Kishor to chart the roadmap for the TMC’s re-election bid following the setback in the 2019 general election.

After the TMC secured its largest ever mandate in the state election, bagging 213 of the 292 assembly seats that went to polls, Abhishek became Mamata’s heir apparent.

His new position officially endorses what had become apparent after the TMC’s third straight win.

Abhishek’s rise will further increase the influence of Kishor in the TMC. Kishor was by his side when Abhishek came to the meeting. They also left the meeting together.

Party sources said Kishor will now formulate the party’s expansion strategy for the next parliamentary election.

“His [Kishor] service was vital in our recent electoral victory. We will now like to have him prepare a similar roadmap for the parliamentary elections,” said a TMC MP who did not wish to be quoted.

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