January 29, 2017 5:15:05 am
Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee will not campaign for her party in the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab. Sources say the move is keeping in mind national politics. “Mamata Banerjee is unlikely to go to West Bengal and campaign in Punjab. Initially, it seemed like she would but then the political situation nationally doesn’t allow it. As of now, Mamata Banerjee is sharing a common platform against Narendra Modi with both Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal. But the two (Congress and AAP) are fighting against each other in the state,” said a senior TMC leader.
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The party’s star campaigners include former railways minister Dinesh Trivedi, TMC vice president Mukul Roy (MP), general secretary Subrata Bakshi, Lok Sabha MP Kalyan Banerjee, Lok Sabha MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, RS MP Derek O’Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy MP Rajya Sabha among others. It will contest 40 seats in the state.
Speaking about the party strategy in the state, a party leader said, “The attack is going to be directed at Narendra Modi and how the federal structure of the country is being weakened. Bengal and Punjab might be very far from each other. But at the end of it, both states are suffering similarly because of the Centre’s continued step treatment. The debt, in the states is a result of this. The BJP has been destroying the secular, peaceful fabric across the country. In Bengal, they haven’t been able to do so and that is the vision.”
Trinamool insiders said the party aims to achieve “relative success” – to sow the seeds for a more prominent role in the future and ensure they got enough votes to play “kingmaker”.
Last December, the TMC had inaugurated their party’s office in Chandigarh, with former Congress MP Jagmeet Singh Brar as its Punjab unit chief. Significantly the bonhomie between AAP and TMC broke down in Punjab after after Arvind Kejriwal “backed out” of the pre-poll alliance talks. Brar termed the development as “an immature self-goal”. Brar, repeatedly at election campaigns, has maintained that TMC will play kingmaker, with the party impacting “results in at least 25 seats in the Assembly”.
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