Politics

Unease With Vincent Pala, ‘Courtesy’ Visit & A Friend’s ‘Advice’: Behind-the-Scenes Story of Mukul Sangma’s Switch to TMC

It was an afternoon two months ago when Mukul Sangma expressed his displeasure with staying in the Congress, a result of the growing distance between him and Pradesh Congress Committee chief Vincent Pala ever since the latter was appointed the new Meghalaya unit chief.

As Sangma’s unrest grew, his friend and political strategist Prashant Kishor understood that it was time for the veteran leader from the Northeast to look for a change.

In September, when Bengal was busy with the Bhabanipur polls, Sangma came to Kolkata to meet Kishor in a “courtesy visit”. However, it was this trip that kick-started his journey of severing ties with the Grand Old Party.

As news spread in political circles of Sangma warming up to the Trinamool Congress, 10, Janpath too sprang into action. The leader was called to Delhi for a meeting with the high command.

Back home, Sangma held a press conference, putting up the front that things will fall in place and the Congress high command will do the necessary course corrections.

Meanwhile, he met Kishor in Delhi several times, inspired by the political moves of Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. To add fuel to fire, Kishor was seen in Meghalaya a few days ago and the IPAC team, too, has settled in Meghalaya and is working there for the past two months.

Finally, Sangma decided it was time to bid farewell to the Congress.

TMC sources say Sangma leaving Congress was a covert operation of the Mamata Banerjee-led party as he was one of the most important names of Northeast Congress. With his exit, Congress has no big names to boast of in the northeast now.

The exodus of leaders from the Congress to the TMC makes it clear that the Trinamool is in no mood to spare the Grand Old Party with which it shares a blow hot, blow cold relationship.

Post Sangma’s switch, the TMC on Thursday called Congress an “incapable, incompetent party”, saying leaders across states joining hands with Banerjee cannot be TMC’s fault.

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