A day after Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee sent a stern warning to rebels within the ruling party in West Bengal, a minister of her cabinet showed signs of disgruntlement on Saturday.
“Whenever I tried to prove my competence and skill, I was relegated to the back seat. I don’t know what happened. Corrupt leaders, liars and those who do not enjoy the confidence of people are being brought to the forefront just because they are sycophants,” said Rajib Banerjee, state forest minister, who is known for his clean image.
He is the second minister of the TMC-ruled government to express his dissatisfaction. Earlier, state transport minister and TMC heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari had resigned from his posts and launched a veiled challenged at the TMC leadership, widening his rift with the party.
“It hurts me when I see that those who have the competence and dexterity and are working on ground standing amidst people are not given any importance. Instead, those sitting in AC chambers and thinking that they would be able to fool the people are occupying the front seats,” he added.
This is, however, not the first time that Rajib Banerjee has spoken out against corruption. Earlier this year, he had said the party’s drive against in-house corruption should be aimed at not only ‘’small fries’’ but also against ‘’big fish’’. A senior minister, however, hit out at Banerjee, accusing him of echoing BJP’s stance.
“This is the age of sycophants. But people don’t like these things. People elect their political leaders with many aspirations. But when they see that the leader is a sycophant, they refuse to accept him. Some people are not being able to feel the pulse of the people,” he said, adding that if leaders think people are fools then they are living in a fool’s paradise.
Even as the TMC is desperately trying to fix the chinks in its armour, more gaps are appearing with one after another leader speaking out against the party.
“Those who have minimum self-respect left within them, will not be able to work in the TMC. It is because in the TMC party, only those who hail from a particular house in Kalighat are allowed to become leaders. The rest who gave their sweat and blood will always remain as employees,” said Dilip Ghosh, president of the BJP’s Bengal unit.
Earlier while Mihir Goswami, a TMC MLA had switched over to the BJP, Silbhadra Dutta another TMC MLA from Barrackpore lashed out against poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s team without naming it. Kishor was roped in by the TMC leadership after the BJP made some impressive gains in the 2019 elections.
BJP leaders have already named at least seven MPs and MLAs, claiming that it is just a matter of time before the lawmakers from the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal resign from the party and join the BJP.
“Mamata Banerjee has sent a loud and clear message to all rebels within the party. If they need to stay within the party they will have to work for the party. Those speaking against the party will not be tolerated. She, however, didn’t name any leader,” said a senior TMC leader who attended the virtual meeting held by Banerjee with TMC leaders from across the state.