India

Top TMC member removed from key post for ‘lack of discretion’


Former MP Kunal Ghosh speaks with the media in Kolkata on May 1, 2024. TMC on Wednesday removed Mr. Ghosh from the post of party’s West Bengal general secretary for making statements not aligning with the party.

Former MP Kunal Ghosh speaks with the media in Kolkata on May 1, 2024. TMC on Wednesday removed Mr. Ghosh from the post of party’s West Bengal general secretary for making statements not aligning with the party.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Trinamool Congress on Wednesday removed Kunal Ghosh from the post of general secretary hours after the TMC leader was seen at a non-political event in the city with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kolkata North candidate Tapas Roy.

“Kunal Ghosh has been expressing views that don’t align with the party… Mr. Ghosh was previously relieved from his role as party spokesperson. Now he has been removed from the position of general secretary of the state organisation,” the TMC said in a statement.

The statement signed by TMC’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien, also asked media outlets not to conflate Mr. Ghosh’s views with those of the party and warned that this might invite legal action.

Mr. Ghosh, a former Rajya Sabha MP, was arrested by the West Bengal police in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam and was released from prison after 34 months in custody. The journalist turned politician warmed up to the TMC and in June 2021, he was appointed the party’s state general secretary. In the run up to the Lok Sabha polls the TMC has been grappling with the issue of senior members “extending political courtesies” and defending leaders and candidates of opposition parties, besides appearing at events with them.

Reacting to the press statement issued by the TMC, Mr. Ghosh accused accused his party of double standards and said that when actor and MP Dipak Adhikari alias Dev extended a political courtesy to Mithun Chakraborty who is campaigning for the BJP no action was taken.

Courtesy to BJP’s Mithun

After Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee targeted Mithun Chakraborty calling him a “traitor” for joining the BJP, Dev said that he does not support such language in politics and Mithun Chakraborty was like his father. Mr. Ghosh had criticised Dev for being soft on those who criticised the party leadership. Dev, who is well known actor in Bengali cinema is contesting as TMC candidate from Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency.

Mr. Ghosh said that he had in the past expressed his desire to quit the post of spokesperson and general secretary and he remains an ordinary party worker.

This is not the first time that Kunal Ghosh has been at the centre of debate in the TMC leadership. Perceived close to TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, he has backed Ms. Banerjee on the issue of a retirement age in politics. Recently Mr. Ghosh had criticised suspended leader and former Education Minister Partha Chatterjee for statements about TMC leader and Kolkata North candidate Sudip Banerjee.

At the blood donation camp in Kolkata North, where Mr. Ghosh shared the dais with the BJP candidate, he had emphasised that Sudip Banerjee was his party candidate but added that Tapas Roy was a public representative whose doors are always open for general people.

Kolkata North, which will be going to polls in the last phase on June 1 has thrown up an interesting contest between veteran TMC leader Sudip Banerjee and Tapas Roy who joined the BJP about 54 days ago. Reacting to the Ghosh incident, the BJP candidate said that the TMC does not believe in political courtesy. The Congress has nominated senior leader Pradip Bhattacharya who is also being supported by Left parties as a candidate from Kolkata North Lok Sabha seat.



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