Kolkata: As Trinamool Congress has made it clear that its scheme of a national level anti-BJP alliance does not include the Congress, political debates have started over the outcome of the development.
The decision to maintain a distance with Congress and instead start dialogues with the regional parties having strengths in their respective states was taken at an extended core committee meeting of Trinamool Congress which was chaired by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Explaining the logic behind maintaining a distance with Congress, the Leader of Trinamool in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay highlighted three points.
The first point is the official Congress-Left Front intimacy in West Bengal, which is at times is “clandestine” with the BJP, against the Trinamool and the state government, is the greatest barrier in accepting the country’s oldest party as a part of the opposition alliance.
Secondly, he said, Congress’ “Big Boss” attitude undermining regional parties is yet another barrier for this grand opposition alliance. He also said that Trinamool is strong enough to move alone in West Bengal though its attempts to unite the non-Congress parties against the BJP will be on.
The third point, as highlighted by Bandopadhyay, actually it is the BJP which is highlighting Rahul Gandhi as the principal face of opposition in the country with a ploy to disintegrate opposition unity in the country.
However, the state Congress President and five-time Lok Sabha member, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury rubbished the claims of Trinamool on this count and described the state’s ruling party as the “Trojan Horse” of the BJP in reality.
“Trinamool Congress leadership, being neck-deep in corruption, understands well that without the mercy of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they will not be able to resist the inevitable imprisonment of their top leaders. So, their leaders are resorting to such vague logic and they are actually weakening the formation of a grand opposition alliance. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be really happy at this stance of Trinamool Congress,” he said.
On the point raised by Trinamool about Gandhi, Chowdhury said that the Congress leader has emerged as the uncompromising face of opposition against BJP and Modi. “That is why Rahul Gandhi is under scathing and all-round attack from BJP. Trinamool Congress is not facing that attack since it is already a clandestine partner of the BJP at the national level.”
BJP councillor in Kolkata Municipal Corporation Sajal Ghosh said that Trinamool’s war-cry of moving alone is prompted by the realisation that none is willing to move along with them amid so many cases of corruption charges slapped against their leaders.
“Who would like to move ahead with a party which is constituted by corrupt persons from top to bottom?” Ghosh questioned.
Now in the midst of this political slugfest, the question that is taking the rounds in the political circles of the state is that how far the Trinamool proposed third-front formula without Congress will be realistic.
In fact, the Trinamool leadership itself is maintaining a low-key position on this proposed opposition alliance as evident from Bandopadhyay’s statement that just an exploratory exercise on this count has started.
“Right now, we are not speaking of the third front. We have started dialogues with regional parties that have sufficient strengths in the respective states. Our Chief Minister is already having dialogues with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. This month she will also hold a meeting with her Odisha counterpart and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik. After that she will also go to New Delhi to meet the leaders of other regional parties,” he said.
Veteran political analyst Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay feels that whatever many reasons that Trinamool Congress might officially claim to be behind maintaining distance with Congress, the only reason is the latter’s proximity with Left Front, especially the CPI-M in both West Bengal and Tripura, which is now being reflected at the national level floor coordination between Congress and Left Front.
“As for Congress right at this moment the Left Front is a more dependable ally than Trinamool considering that Trinamool expansion both in West Bengal as well as in northeastern states had been by poaching in the oldest national party of the country. The personal equation between Rahul Gandhi and CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury is extremely fine-tuned. In such a situation, accepting Congress as a party to opposition alliance is unthinkable for Trinamool Congress leadership,” he said.
According to political observer and the University of Calcutta’s former Registrar, Dr Raja Gopal Dhar Chakraborty, the possibility of a Congress-Trinamool understanding received a longstanding damage after the latter decided to abstain from voting in the election for Vice President last year and thus smoothened the way for the victory of BJP’s Jagdeep Dhankhar against Congress-nominated Margaret Alva.
“Congress could not really consume that. Secondly, the only state where Trinamool Congress can have an alliance with Congress is in West Bengal provided Congress snaps its ties with CPI-M before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. But in that case Trinamool will have to sacrifice some seats for Congress as part of the seat-sharing agreement. Although there is nothing final in politics, in my opinion, sacrificing a single seat in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls is an impossible proposition for Trinamool,” he said.
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