Trinamool may go it alone in panchayat polls

Trinamool may go it alone in panchayat polls

The Coalition Battle: War of words widens chasm between the two UPA allies

As the rift between the Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) widens, both the parties are trying to consolidate their position in West Bengal with the Trinamool leadership even hinting at contesting the next year’s state panchayat elections alone.

According to the party sources, the TMC leadership under the guidance of its general secretary Mukul Roy recently met to discuss and formulate the strategy for the forthcoming panchayat polls. The party has already prepared an information data bank on the status of work being done in panchayats.
“Our leader wants us to be prepared to fight the panchayat polls on our own and without anyone’s help, although a final decision is yet to be taken on whether we’ll go with the Congress,” a senior Trinamool leader, close to Mamata Banerjee,

Toeing the Congress line, the TMC will also start Panchayat Raj Sammelan from ninth of January, to be directly supervised and addressed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The Congress has already organized its Panchayat Raj Sammelan, where the leaders targeted its ally in the state and at the Centre.

Mulling Trinamool strategy to alienate itself, the Congress party has started consolidating its political space in the state, ahead of the next year’s panchayat polls and the all-important 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

“A 127-year-old party has the right to grow on its own strength. It need not play second fiddle to any other party,” PCC general secretary Om Prakash Misra told Deccan Herald.

For the last few days the leaders of both the parties were baying for each others blood which started with the renaming of Indira Bhawan to Nazrul Academy.

Taken for granted

An MP and Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury told Deccan Herald: “She has taken Congress for granted and is behaving whimsically. Though she is an ally and part of the UPA she is not co-operating with us at the state and the Centre. We must assert ourselves on every issue. We cannot become subservient to Trinamool Congress”.

Recently, in a public rally held at Central Kolkata the top brass of the state Congress vehemently criticised Trinamool’s anti-Congress stance and even told her to quit the UPA government at the Centre.

Terming Trinamool Congress CPM’s “B-Team”, Congress MP Deepa Dasmunsi said: “The Trinamool Congress has also joined hands with the CPM and BJP to oppose the Lokpal Bill in Parliament. It also opposed the move allowing FDI in retail along with the CPM and BJP. So we can also say Trinamool is the B-team of the CPM”.

The state Congress president and Rajya Sabha member  Pradip Bhattacharya said: “Like the BJP and Left, Trinamool Congress played the role of opposition. If they want they have every liberty to leave the government”.

Vote percentage

Buoyed by its success in the last assembly polls, when it bagged 42 seats as against CPM’s 41,  the Congress leadership is of the opinion that till Trinamool went for a pre-poll alliance with the Congress, its vote percentage never crossed 25 mark the Trinamool candidates would find it difficult to win without the Congress.

The TMC leaders are also not lagging behind in this verbal duel. The Industry Minister Parth Chattopadhyay recently said that Congress candidates would lose their security deposits if they choose to tread their own path, without Mamata Banerjee. 
Trinamool leader and state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim jumped on the bandwagon claiming that the Congress leaders won many seats in the last election using Mamata Banerjee’s photograph. “If they need to win in the polls again they need that photograph again. While Congress was dependent on Trinamool at the Centre the reverse is not true in Bengal,” Hakim said.

There are 755 zilla parishad constituencies, spread over 17 zilla parishads, 8,864 panchayat samiti constituencies in 341 panchayat samitis and 36,016 gram panchayat constituencies in 3,354 gram panchayats in the state. All political parties consider the coming panchyat polls to be the litmus test for them ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. 



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