Why I want freedom from TMC
I joined the TMC in 1998 when Mamata Banerjee formed this new party. I want freedom now because of years of insult.
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2016 was the last time Bengal went to polls. The obstacles from even within my own party, the Trinamool Congress, were many. I contested the elections and won Cooch Behar South by 18,000 votes. That seat was a Left stronghold for 39 long years. Success of that magnitude, everyone said, deserved at least a portfolio in Mamata Banerjee's Cabinet. But I was sent home empty-handed, with a consolation prize following a few days later: the Chairman of the North Bengal State Transport Corporation. We provided the NBSTC with a fresh lease of life, only to see even that post snatched away after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. What came as an insult to injury was being moved from the chair of the Rogi Kalyan Committee (Patient Welfare Committee). Cooch Behar had won an elusive Kaya Kalpa award during my tenure.
I have quit all organisational posts of the Trinamool Congress, a party that I have spent years trying to build, every day and night, for 22 long years. I joined the TMC in 1998 when Mamata Banerjee formed this new party. I had faith in her; in her leadership. So why do I want freedom from a party that I have been with for more than two decades?
That answer is not easy, and it is not an overnight decision, even though the recent developments might make it look like it. I left the TMC posts because of years of insult. I left the TMC posts because a party is built on the shoulders of its workers and leader. Contractors can run a lot of things, but not a political party.
Mihir Goswami and Mamata Banerjee
There is already a lot of speculation on my future in politics. Some say I am retiring. Some others say that I'm on my way to join another political party. I am not worried about what Trinamool Congress is thinking; if at all it is thinking; about my resignation. I don't want to know.
Politics happened to me 50 years ago. In these 50 years, half of which I have spent with the TMC, I have seen many wins and defeats. Many attacks too. Some of those still surface like a dormant volcano once in a while, the searing pain in my spine, which still bears the after-effects of an attack from 37 years ago.
On August 17, 1983, I was taken to the hospital, near-dead. I spent six months in the hospital fighting for life after an armed attack by CPM cadres in Kashir Danga of Tufanganj. The men left with their sticks and spears only after they thought I had died.
But that is only a physical wound. The wound in my heart runs a lot deeper, pains a lot more. The immediate trigger was September, and the changing equations within the TMC. The party began forming block committees without any consultation with its own MLAs. In my own constituency, a seat that I won in 2016, I see people being placed and work being distributed without any word from the ones who worked the most to win this constituency for the TMC.
My tumultuous relationship with the TMC High Command has gone on for many years now. The 2006 elections saw TMC fighting the polls solo, without a coalition with the Congress. On this side of the Ganga that year, only one TMC candidate won: Ashok Mandal.
Then came 2011. The TMC moved me from my constituency and named me from Dinhata, a seat that I had no way of winning. I did not contest the elections. But I did work day and night for the party. I was handed yet another consolatory post, that of the Chairman of the Jaigaon Development Authority.
Over the years, I have been made a scapegoat for other people's losses, I have seen positions being taken away, I have been left in the cold, and it all accumulated within me, bit by bit, like kindling, all these years. A spark arrived this September.