Observers say that the TMC’s chances look bleak for the 2023 Assembly polls.


New Delhi: To make deep inroads into the political spectrum of the hill state of Tripura and establish itself as a formidable political force, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has a long road to walk since the party still lacks strong organisational capabilities and a local face to take on the ruling BJP or the well-established opposition, the Congress and the CPM, in Tripura.
The TMC, which is trying to push itself as the principal opposition party in Tripura, has yet again received a major setback after all its four candidates for the recently concluded bypolls in the state lost their deposits and the party could barely secure just a little over 2.4% of the total votes polled. This came after the TMC received a similar drubbing in the Municipal Corporation polls held in the state last year.
This setback has, however, not deterred the TMC to push back from the battlefield in Tripura and the party’s second in-command Abhishek Banerjee earlier said that the TMC is there to stay in Tripura and that the party would not retreat, but instead come back as a stronger political force.
On the contrary, TMC leaders as well as TMC’s political tutor, I-PAC’s several team members, say that the fight for the TMC in Tripura would be a tough one as the party is yet to have any strong local face and is yet to build a strong organisation on the ground.
The TMC has entrusted the responsibility of the state on the shoulders of Assam leader Sushmita Dev and Bengal leader Rajib Banerjee. Sushmita Dev was a former Congress member and Rajib Banerjee had deserted the TMC just before the 2021 Assembly polls in Bengal, but later rejoined the TMC after the BJP faced a defeat in the same Assembly polls. Only recently did the TMC appoint Subal Bhowmick, a native Tripura resident, as its state president.
Senior TMC leader in-charge of Tripura and Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal, Sushmita Dev, speaking to The Sunday Guardian also agreed that the poor show of the TMC in the bypolls of Tripura was due to absence of organisational structure of the party in Tripura and that the TMC would now focus on building its organisation in the hill state.
“The results for the bypolls in Tripura were very unfortunate for the party. We were expecting to do better than what we have done, but then bypolls are different and for the TMC, we have been here just for the last 11 months. I also agree that the party is lacking organisational capabilities in Tripura and we are working to build the same. Within the next two to three months, you will be able to see a very different and new TMC in Tripura,” Sushmita Dev told this newspaper.
The TMC currently only has a state committee and that the party was on the brink of announcing its district committees in the state, but the announcements were deferred since the dates for the bypolls was declared by the Election Commission. The TMC is also yet to have any bloc committee or booth committees in Tripura.
“First, we are going to have a state headquarter office in the state, which is likely to be opened very soon. All the formalities, the buildings, etc are all complete. The TMC till now did not even have an office here, but with this new office, the TMC will have a fresh beginning and we will build our organisation in the state, brick by brick, right from the district to the booth,” Sushmita Dev said. Political observers from Tripura say that the TMC’s chances, despite it working on building their organisation, look bleak for the 2023 Assembly polls in the state because the party has no credible face in the state, nor does the party has real issues that affect the people and that the people of Tripura are not being able to connect with the TMC.
“TMC has parachuted its leaders from Bengal and does not have any face strong enough to represent the people of Tripura. Like in Bengal they accused the BJP of being an outsider party, the TMC is seeing the same fate in Tripura. The political dynamics is very different here in Tripura, there are Bengali voters and there are Tribal voters and to win this state, one has to be acceptable to both. As per the present situation, the TMC is acceptable to none.” A political analyst from Tripura told this correspondent.
However, Sushmita Dev, countering the arguments made by the political analysts, says that not all elections are fought with a face. “There are ample examples where political parties have won elections without a face and in BJP’s case in 2018, even they did not put up a face, despite that they won the elections. So, saying that the TMC does not have a face and therefore should be written off is a wrong statement to make.” Dev said.
“We will be offering a narrative to the people that would be based on productivity and not destructive. We will go to the people of Tripura with the works done by Mamata Banerjee for the people of Bengal and people of Tripura and Bengal are well connected. We stood vindicated when the BJP changed its CM as we were saying that Biplab Deb was not doing any work for the people of Tripura.” Sushmita Dev told this newspaper.