As West Bengal heads for the fifth round of polling on April 17, the outcome of the keenly contested assembly elections in the state is simply getting more obvious. No it is not in the huge crowds that seem to be gathering wherever home minister Amit Shah goes while he reaches out to voters in the state. A change in regime seems inevitable; not just because the BJP election machinery has worked at it tirelessly. Or because Modi- Shah have willed it immaculately. Everyone now wants Trinamool Congress to go and no one perhaps more keenly awaits it than the Grand Alliance of the Left Parties- the Congress and the ISF. Yes, the secular front is of the unanimous view that Mamata Banerjee must be trounced in this election.
Both the Congress and the Left Parties feel there is no scope for political growth or space for them in Bengal as long as Trinamool Congress is in power and until Mamata is vanquished. After all, they have experienced how Mamata has been systematically destroying them since she came to power in 2011. More violently so in the 2018 panchayat elections, how they were not even allowed to contest those polls. These parties couldn’t do much in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls either — while the Congress won two seats, the Left Parties had drawn a blank.
” To re-discover ourselves in Bengal, Trinamool has to go. The Congress and the Left can grow only when Mamata is out of power ” says a Bengal Congress veteran.” We can deal with the BJP after that. After all, we are fighting with them all over the country. Mamata is too autocratic, uses too many undemocratic methods to crush her opponents. We are confident she will not be able to win against a division in Muslim votes.”
In fact, it is for this reason that the Grand Alliance simply shuddered when Mamata Banerjee floated the idea of a broad coalition against the BJP just ahead of the second phase of voting in her constituency Nandigram. Mamata had suggested forming a front to defeat the BJP and had written to several leaders including Congress President Sonia Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Barring AAP and the RJD, there wasn’t much of a response to her letter. But then Pawar had planned to jointly address some rallies for the TMC; he was advised by senior Bengal Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya to skip camaraderie with Mamata in the larger interest. ” We advised Pawar saheb not to strengthen her at this juncture. He agreed to our request and decided to stay out of the Bengal campaign. Besides, he had developed some health issues “concedes a Congress MP.
Significantly, in his first address at a public rally in Bengal, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi did not spare Mamata Banerjee. Speaking for campaign in elections in the fifth phase in Goalpokhar in support of Deepa Dasmunshi, Rahul Gandhi reminded voters about how Mamata was capable of forging ties with the RSS as she had done in the past. ” We are the only people who will never strike a deal with the BJP or the RSS, ” he said, reminding how Mamata was a minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government. Bengal Congress sources say Rahul’s rallies were kept in the last phases as the Congress had more stake in the last three phases. ” We are planning another 4 rallies of Rahul Gandhi. Hope it works out, ” points out an AICC functionary.
For all her bluff and buster, incumbent chief minister Mamata Banerjee is acutely aware that her grip on the administration is very tenuous. She has also begun to realise that power is slipping out of her hands and that the state police is no longer cooperating with her or biding by her orders. It is quite pathetic to see Mamata — who had become a legend in India’s history for once demolishing the moribund Communists from Bengal — should be now remembered only for making a spectacle of herself and her histrionics over losing Bengal.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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