Monday 17 January 2022
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Trinamool Congress tweaks constitution for ‘national makeover’

Its Goa outing coming a cropper notwithstanding, the All India Trinamool Congress, as the West Bengal-based party calls itself officially, is in the process of amending its constitution to create the of a national working president who will assist chairperson Mamata Banerjee and, in her absence, perform all her roles, sources said. The party will have a national council of over 2,000 elected and some appointed members too.

The council is proposed to be the apex policy-making body, according to sources in West Bengal’s ruling party’s drafting committee. The council will elect the national working president, who will have a tenure of five years, the sources said.

Six national general secretaries will be appointed to look after every facet of the party’s organisation and functioning, the sources added. There are changes envisaged for grassroots membership too.

Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee, the party’s national general secretary and Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, is being seen in party circles as the natural choice for the second most important post, which will be created through amendments to the party constitution. He has been the second most important person in the Trinamool Congress for all practical purposes, but his likely election to the working president’s is expected to blunt criticism about him virtually running the party without a formal mandate.

It’s the first time since the foundation of the party in 1998 that the Trinamool Congress’s constitution would be amended to make changes in the organisational structure, which would also lead to “democratisation” in the party, as elections would be held right from district committees to the second most important post.

As for the top of chairperson, there is no proposal “so far” to fix a tenure or provide for her election or removal, Trinamool Congress leaders have told ThePrint. The Trinamool Congress constitution, as it is, has no mention of the chairperson’s election or tenure.

This makes Mamata Banerjee the lifetime chairperson of the Trinamool Congress, although the party constitution does not specify it. If and when is elected the national working president, it would even settle the succession debate.

Sources in the Trinamool Congress said that amendments were being proposed as the party is now eyeing a national role and its constitution has to reflect it. The Trinamool Congress is a national party, technically, but has little footprint outside West Bengal.

The now is to make the party “truly national” by expanding its presence across the country, the sources said.

In November 2021, Trinamool Congress chairperson and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had chaired the party’s working committee meeting at her Kolkata residence. Leaders who attended the key meeting spoke to the media and announced that the Trinamool Congress has taken a resolution to amend its constitution. Also present at the meeting was political strategist Prashant Kishor, who is said to be the behind the proposed changes.

After its in the 2021 West Bengal assembly election, the Trinamool Congress extended its association with Kishor’s company Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) for another five years.

The election strategist company is now playing an important role in the architectural changes in Trinamool Congress’s constitution.

Through party sources in the know of the proposed amendments, ThePrint has accessed exclusive details of the changes the Trinamool Congress is looking at incorporating in its constitution, although it is still in its draft stage.

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