Despite the call for a grand alliance at the national level of all regional parties along with the Indian National Congress, a “Mahagathbandhan” of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Congress and the CPM is unlikely to be a reality in West Bengal.
Leaders from both the Congress’ and the CPM’s Bengal unit have expressed their disinterest in an alliance or any political understanding with the ruling TMC and its chief Mamata Banerjee for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, as there is a lot of anger and tension among the three political parties in the state.
Om Prakash Mishra, senior Congress leader and general secretary of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, told The Sunday Guardian, “We shall not compromise on democracy and secularism in Bengal. The TMC and BJP are negating both these core principles of the Congress party. We are for an alliance with all the democratic and secular parties of India. Here in Bengal, Mamata’s TMC has killed democracy.”
Even grassroots, as well as district workers of Congress in Bengal, have expressed their disinterest towards an alliance with the TMC for the 2019 general elections.
A district Congress leader told this correspondent, “Where does the question of alliance between TMC and Congress arise? In the state, the TMC has been harassing us and slapping false cases on our workers to put them behind bars. Will Mamata Banerjee release all our workers? Congress workers will not be able to forget the damage she has done to our party in Bengal. Therefore, let them do whatever they want to do at the national level, but at the state level, there is no question of supporting the TMC.”
Bengal Congress has also expressed its displeasure at the announcement made by Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, where he hinted that she would be the next Prime Minister of India. A senior Congress leader from Bengal said, “There can be no alliance minus the Congress. Where is the Federal Front? Most regional parties have expressed their interest of joining the UPA and now that Mamata Banerjee has her aspirations to become Prime Minister, there cannot be any space to accommodate her in the alliance.” Even CPM has expressed the same unwillingness to share any sort of political understanding with the ruling TMC in Bengal.
Dr Fuad Halim, senior CPM leader, told The Sunday Guardian, “There is no question of any sort of alliance with the TMC in Bengal. Our political stand has been: BJP hatao desh bachao and TMC hatao Bengal bachao. We will stick to that. The TMC has unleashed a reign of terror in Bengal and as a responsible political party, there cannot be any sort of alliance with Mamata Banerjee and her party. They remain our political enemy.”