KOLKATA: The Trinamool Congress on Monday brought about a massive organisational change, inducting several fresh faces and axing old guards, with a special thrust on toning up the party in areas where it has yielded ground to the BJP.
TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee's imprint was visible in the reshuffle as his policy of 'one person, one post' led to several old guards losing their posts.
At the same time, the ruling party in West Bengal formed several new district committees with a mix of experienced leaders and young turks.
For the first time since its formation in 1998, the TMC divided the 23 administrative districts of the state into the party's 35 organisational districts.
State cabinet ministers Jyotipriyo Mullick, Arup Ray, Soumen Mahapatra and Swapan Debnath were relieved of their responsibilities as the TMC district presidents of North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Purba Medinipur and Purba Bardhaman respectively.
Krishnanagar MP Mahua Moitra too was dropped as the party's Nadia district chief.
TMC Lok Sabha party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay was dropped as the North Kolkata district president and made chairman of the district committee.
Baranagar MLA and former state minister Tapas Ray was appointed as the new district chief of North Kolkata.
The party's youth wing, the Trinamool Youth Congress, also underwent sweeping changes with all leaders above the age of 40 being axed from their posts and new chiefs being appointed in several district units.
"We are pleased to announce the new organisational appointments at state & district level for West Bengal. We remain indebted to all outgoing members for their valuable contribution. Best wishes to all new appointees! #OnePersonOnePost," the party's official Twitter handle posted.
The party presidents of several districts including Howrah, Coochbehar, Purulia, Hooghly, Paschim Medinipur, Nadia, Bankura, Jhargram, Malda, Murshidabad and North and South Dinajpur were removed, and fresh faces given charge of the new organisational districts.
The change was imminent as the dual responsibilities of various TMC leaders were affecting the organisation at the grassroots level, a senior party leader said.
"Several party leaders were holding dual portfolios such as district president and state minister. So as per the 'one person, one post' policy, it was expected that many would lose their post of district president or other organisational responsibilities," he said.
"The reshuffle has been done keeping in mind several factors like areas where the BJP has gained ground and places from where complaints of infighting have been received. The party tried to ensure a mix of old and new, and give disgruntled but effective leaders important roles," another senior leader privy to the developments said.
The change of guard in north Bengal and parts of south Bengal was necessary as the BJP has gained ground in several districts and the former TMC leadership had failed to put up a fight, he said.
The BJP had made deep inroads in West Bengal during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by securing 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, pushing down the TMC's tally to 22 from 34.
However, riding on various populist measures and welfare schemes, the TMC made an astounding comeback in the 2021 assembly polls by winning 213 of the 294 assembly seats in the state.