Following the below expectation performance of the Trinamool Congress in the Northeast, the party is changing its political strategy by preparing to maintain equidistance from the BJP and the Congress and seeking to form a group of regional outfits opposed to both the camps.
In Tripura, the TMC bagged less than the votes polled by NOTA, while in Meghalaya, the party’s tally came down to five from 11. The Mamata Banerjee-led party also suffered a major upset in West Bengal’s Sagardighi, a minority-dominated assembly constituency which was previously held by the Mamata Banerjee-led party.
”Our strategy nationally will be maintaining equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress. We want other opposition parties who want to fight the BJP but are opposed to the Congress to come together and work as a united opposition front.
“We are already in talks with parties such as BRS (erstwhile TRS), AAP and others. This strategy will be reflected in the next Parliament session,” Leader of the TMC parliamentary party in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay told PTI.
Banerjee had also recently announced that the party would go it alone in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The decision also came after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as well as CPI(M) leaders accused the TMC of helping the BJP by dividing opposition votes.
Veteran TMC leader and MP Sougata Roy said that as the Lok Sabha elections are still a year away, the situation will further evolve in the days to come.
”Let’s see how things shape up, as four major states will go to polls this year. The political situation will further evolve by the end of this year,” Roy said.
Assembly elections will be held in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka this year. Referring to the recent letter written by leaders of nine opposition parties – minus the Congress, Left parties, JD(U), DMK and JD(S) – to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on ”blatant misuse” of central agencies, Roy told PTI that it is “just the beginning”.
Attacking the grand old party for its ”big brother attitude”, TMC chief spokesperson Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said, ”The Congress is yet to come to terms with the changing reality of Indian politics. It has miserably failed in the last nine years in fighting the BJP. So we will try to align with strong forces in their respective states,” he said.
The TMC had also abstained from voting in the Vice-Presidential polls last year.
Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury however dubbed the TMC’s effort to bring together opposition parties minus the Congress as an ”attempt to help the BJP,” ”You don’t need to be a political pundit to understand the role some opposition parties like the TMC are playing to help the BJP. The TMC is now isolated nationally as it stands unmasked as a stooge of the BJP,” he said.
CPI (M) state secretary Mohammed Salim claimed the TMC lacks credibility in the fight against the BJP.
Assistant Professor of Political Science Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, Maidul Islam said the idea of bringing together regional parties is an idea which was once mulled by Communist patriarch Jyoti Basu in the name of the Third Front in the eighties and nineties and later pushed by Banerjee in with the name of Federal Front in 2014.
Political scientist Biswanath Chakraborty said any attempt to forge an opposition unity sans the Congress is destined to fail.
”If you go by numbers, you cannot have any opposition front minus the Congress if you are serious about fighting the BJP. If you try to forge any such front, it will only help the BJP,” he said.