Poll manager Prashant Kishor’s suggestions after a year-long survey are now being implemented by the Trinamool Congress (TMC). Party’s Lok Sabha member Mahua Moitra and former Indian cricketer and party MLA Laxmi Ratan Shukla have been made in-charge of important district units in Bengal as chief minister Mamata Banerjee decided to overhaul the face of the party leadership by putting young faces at the centre of its campaign for the 2021 assembly polls.
Senior leaders and those facing charges have either been shunted out or given higher posts that TMC insiders described as ‘non-functional’ in election-related matters. WB CM replaced key functionaries in north Bengal, where the BJP won all seven Lok Sabha seats in 2019, as well as those in the western districts of Purulia, and Bankura where the saffron outfit made deep inroads into sizeable tribal population by winning four Lok Sabha seats.
The BJP got 40.64 per votes winning 18 of the state’s 42 seats while the TMC got 43.69 percent votes winning 22 seats in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Youth wing of TMC headed by the chief minister’s nephew Abhisek Banerjee was also overhauled and presidents of several district units were replaced in an apparent bid to end infighting between leaders of the party’s general and youth wings in several pockets.
The TMC did away with poll observers and formed a seven-member steering committee for the 2021 assembly polls and a 21-member coordination committee. Significantly, Abhisek Banerjee was inducted in both committees.
The massive changes were made on the basis of a year-long survey made by political strategist Prashant Kishor, who was roped in by the chief minister after the debacle in 2019. The poll results indicated that a sizeable chunk of young voters supported the BJP. For the ruling party, this is a cause for concern before the crucial assembly polls where alleged nepotism in distribution of cyclone relief funds and mismanagement in the health sector can be raging issues.