In a surprise move, the ruling TMC in West Bengal on Tuesday named former MP and Saradha scam-accused Kunal Ghosh as one of the party's 34 spokespersons for both national and state level. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has named 12 of its leaders as national spokespersons and 22 as state level spokespersons, according to a statement issued by the party.
Senior TMC leaders such as Derek O' Brien, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra, party MP Sougata Roy, and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's grandnephew and former party MP Sugato Bose are among those named as national spokespersons, while Ghosh along with actor-MP Nusrat Jahan Ruhi, Omprakash Mishra, and Subrata Mukherjee figure in the state-level list.
Ghosh was the CEO of Saradha Media, an arm of the Saradha Group which was busted in 2013 for its illegal operations. He was arrested on November 23, 2013, by the Bidhannagar Police for alleged involvement in a ponzi scam.
The TMC had reportedly suspended him from the party just two months before his arrest on the charge of anti-party activities. Ghosh had claimed that several TMC leaders were also involved in the scam.
Sources in the party, however, said the leadership did not send him any official suspension notice, and Ghosh, too, never claimed to have received one.
The former Rajya Sabha MP, who was in jail till October 2016, is currently out on bail.
"I had read in the newspapers that the party had suspended me. But I have never received any communication from the party in this regard. I was always in touch with the party. I am thankful to our leader Mamata Banerjee for allowing me to serve as spokesperson," Ghosh told PTI.
Over the past three years, he was seen attending various TMC programmes and had even shared the dais with party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the July 21 Martyrs day rally from 2017-19.
He had also conducted a press conference, as a part of a TMC sympathizers' group, and spoke in favour of the party and the state government during the 2018 panchayat polls.
Last week, the TMC supremo had effected a major reshuffle in the organisation, inducting several new faces and axing some old guards, with a thrust on strengthening the party in areas where it has yielded ground to challenger BJP.
The rejig in the party was expected, given the growing challenge from the BJP, which emerged as the main opposition party by winning 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state last year, bringing down the TMC tally to 22 from 34.
West Bengal is scheduled to go to polls in April-May next year with Banerjee completing a decade in office.