Mamata Banerjee’s Meet Over Party Friction With Nephew, Prashant Kishor

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Mamata Banerjee’s Meet Over Party Friction With Nephew, Prashant Kishor

A meeting to discuss a growing rift between Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee began at the West Bengal Chief Minister’s home on Saturday.

The meeting is ostensibly meant to address simmering tensions over Abhishek Banerjee’s push to promote a ‘One Man, One Post’ policy in the party, resented by some of the party’s older guard, some of whom hold multiple posts within the ruling establishment.

But many see it as reflective of the increasing friction between Ms Banerjee and her increasingly ambitious nephew, who is effectively the party’s second in command.

Caught in the crossfire is I-PAC, the political consultancy group of Prashant Kishor, which has been working with the Trinamool since the West Bengal elections, with Abhishek Banerjee seen as the main liaison between the party and the savvy political consultants.

On Friday, a public spat erupted between Trinamool leader Chandrima Bhattacharya and I-PAC after she alleged that her social media accounts had been “misused” by Prashant Kishor’s team – a claim that was promptly challenged.

“A Twitter account in my name was created by I-PAC before the election. Today it posted something about ‘one person one post’ without my knowledge. I strongly protest against it,” Ms Bhattacharya was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

The I-PAC countered, “I-PAC doesn’t handle any digital properties of @AITCofficial or any of its leaders. Anyone making such claim is either uninformed or is blatantly lying. AITC should look into if and how their digital properties and/ or that of their leaders are being ‘allegedly (mis)used’.”

A soundbite by Ms Banerjee to journalists on Monday while on her way to Uttar Pradesh to help Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s campaign also fanned buzz about a fallout between the Trinamool chief and nephew, who is spearheading the party’s Goa foray.

Asked if she was going to campaign in Goa, she said “Somebody is doing, so I am not. I am going to other places… in greater interest”, a curious comment and an even more curious reference to Abhishek Banerjee as ” somebody”.

An internal squabble over the campaign came to a head last week when two competing lists of candidates for the upcoming civic polls came out of the party – prompting Mamata Banerjee to take a side and back the fact perceived as the old guard.

Sources close to I-PAC, however, claim there is no rift with the Chief Minister.

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