By order, Mahua Moitra’s letter to TMC workers sparks resentment

Kolkata: Investment banker-turned feisty Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra seemingly has a penchant for grabbing the headlines. If it is not for her cogently argued fiery speeches in Parliament, the former JP Morgan vice president is getting media space for inexplicably lobbying for a party lawmaker with the BJP and “ordering” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers in the manner of a stern corporate boss.

Though she gained widespread attention after her spirited Lok Sabha debates, 44-year-old Moitra now appears to be losing the brownie points in the rough and tumble of realpolitik in West Bengal.

Moitra, the MP from Krishnanagar in Nadia district, has raised the hackles of a section of Trinamool leadership in her Lok Sabha constituency for trying to “run the party in corporate style”.

Appointed by Trinamool supremo and state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the party president in Krishnanagar constituency post the Lok Sabha elections, the articulate MP stoked a controversy by shooting off a letter to all Trinamool block and area presidents asking them to hold organisational meetings.

The letter directed that meetings be arranged with Gram Panchayat heads, booth, Zilla Parishad and area presidents between September 1 and 16. Similarly, area committee meetings have to be conducted between September 2 and 16.

The letter ended with the words “by order” below which was signed “Mahua Moitra”. The style of the letter has not gone down well with the likes of four-time legislator from Nakashipara Kallol Khan.

The 65-year-old leader wrote to the party supremo besides the district party observer Rajib Banerjee expressing annoyance at Moitra importing a “corporate style” in giving instructions to the workers.

“Our workers do party work with all sincerity. But the way it has been written has made me sad and ashamed,” he said. “No, I haven’t got a reply to the letter. But the Chief Minister has told me that she (Moitra) shouldn’t have written like this,” Khan told IANS.

The MLA said Banerjee has told him that as an “old warhorse of the party” he should continue to do his work and reach out to the masses. “If she mends her ways and keeps in touch with the workers then they will obviously be happy. But if that doesn’t happen, the workers will be disgruntled”.

Resentment is also brewing against Moitra over the little time she has spent in her constituency since her victory in the general elections. Khan said she didn’t even turn up for a district committee meeting. “I don’t think she is in the constituency now.”

However, Rajib Banerjee downplayed Moitra’s absence. “She (Moitra) did not attend the meeting because she was unwell. She had taken prior permission of our leader (Mamata Banerjee) to be away.Once she comes back, she will attend the meetings,” the state irrigation minister told IANS.

Banerjee parried queries about Khan’s letter, saying it was an internal affair of the party. “This is not something I can tell the press. Whatever is needed we will do at the party level,” he said.

Banerjee also denied there was any problem relating to Moitra. “I don’t think there is any such problem. We are conducting the party affairs smoothly,” he added.

By Sirshendu Panth