The Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the Assembly polls in Tripura, a state dominated by Bengalis, has sounded the alarm bell among the brass of the Trinamool Congress (TMC). The TMC now fears that many of its leaders and a section of the cadre may be headed for the saffron party in West Bengal.
According to highly placed sources within the TMC, the top brass of the party is keeping a close eye on all its MLAs, MPs and even councillors across the state.
A senior TMC functionary told The Sunday Guardian, “The TMC is in a panic mode trying to keep its flock together. The results in Tripura going in favour of the BJP have made the party very defensive. They have realised the growing potential of the saffron brigade in the eastern states.” The party functionary also said that the TMC has instructed all its MLAs and MPs to try and keep the party’s cadre together, while some senior leaders close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also fear that some MLAs and MPs might switch sides before the bugle is sounded for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Sources within the party have also confirmed that TMC leaders perceived to be close to Mukul Roy have been relieved of all important duties that were assigned to them. These leaders have not been given any responsibility for the upcoming panchayat polls in the state as the fear is that they could work against the TMC during these elections. They are also being closely watched and their movements tracked by the state intelligence as well as loyal TMC workers, to ensure that they do not become counter-productive for the party.
On the other hand, the BJP is working to improve its performance during the panchayat polls in West Bengal, as the party’s victory in Tripura has re-energised the cadre in Bengal.
The BJP has already started organising booth level workers, as the party believes that many who wanted to join the saffron brigade, but were unable to do so out of the fear of the ruling TMC in the state, would now come out openly in favour of the BJP in the state.
A senior BJP leader from West Bengal said, “BJP is no more a party of North India. It has been accepted everywhere in the country and Tripura will be repeated in Bengal, as people are fed up of the mis-governance and hooliganism of the ruling TMC in Bengal. The party’s workers are all enthused to work for the party to make Tripura happen in Bengal.” The BJP has also termed the reaction of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a sign of “nervousness”.
“Mamata has become nervous seeing the saffron chariot at her door. She is making all sorts of comments just to save her face and gain sympathy from the people, but the people of Bengal have made up their mind,” the BJP leader said. The TMC has accused the BJP of trying to poach its leaders and ensure electoral gains for the party in 2019.
The senior TMC functionary quoted earlier said: “The BJP does not have any leader of its own in the state. What they are trying to do is poach leaders from the TMC by scaring them with CBI and other Central agencies. We have told our leaders not to be deterred by such tactics of the BJP.”