Much before West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached Delhi late on Tuesday seeking to unite the opposition against demonetisation, in what promises to be the beginning of the much talked-about ‘federal front’, party leader Mukul Roy had predicted that she would become the Prime Minister in 2019.
While speaking at Agartala, during campaigning for Assembly bypolls, Mukul Roy had predicted that a coalition government would take over the Centre in 2019 and TMC will prove to be kingmakers.
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“Both the CPM and the Congress will face yet another defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections for their own mistakes. The BJP, which has so far failed to put up a good show, will also meet the same fate,” he said.
Roy’s assessment is based on the TMC’s success in the state elections and maintained that Mamata would prove to be the strongest federal leader in the 2019 elections.
He said, “The people are fuming over the performance of Modi led government and will teach a lesson to it in the next general elections,” he felt. “Laluji (RJD) and Nitishji (JD-U) may manage to secure 20 to 25 seats while BJD is likely to win 18 to 20 seats in the next Lok Sabha elections. DMK or AIDMK will secure 39 to 40 seats while Netaji (SP) or Mayawatiji (BSP) may win 25 to 30 seats. It means Trinamool Congress will emerge as the largest party after the 2019 general elections,” he predicted.
While Roy’s comments were obviously designed for campaigning for the bypolls at Tripura, they betray the TMC’s increasing desire to play a more prominent role in national politics.
In fact, even before Narendra Modi had announced the demonetisation move, Mamata had been planning a meeting of ‘federal front leaders’ in Delhi, and had spoken to both Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal regarding the same, said sources. With the announcement, Mamata found an issue that would unite all leaders.
As one leader put it, “Initially, Nitish Kumar had a positive reaction.
“In fact, even Didi (Mamata) thought twice after her initial criticism wasn’t echoed by other leaders. But soon everyone realized that the entire matter has been badly planned and common people are suffering. Everyone is joining in,” he said.
In the run-up to the Parliament session beginning Wednesday, Mamata has spoken to Shiv Sena, BSP, SP, Janta Dal, RJD and AAP among others. With even the Shiv Sena supporting Mamata, party leaders maintained that the Parliament session will prove to be disruptive and the key in TMC chief’s armour would be the reports about BJP submitting almost Rs 1 crore in an account in Bengal, minutes after Modi’s announcement.
“The BJP has given us an incredible issue. It’s a self goal of mammoth proportions. The BJP submitted this money and then their president admitted the entire thing. If this isn’t proof of corruption, I don’t know what is,” said the leader.
After the allegations were made by the Left, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh had denied that the money in question was “black” and had said they were legal donations and the party had the papers to prove it.
Meanwhile, Mamata hopes that the party’s increased relevance nationally would also help them in the state. Mamata has also made a gamble by offering to ‘join hands’ with the Left.
“The ball is now in our court. If she does become the leader of this opposition, we can’t afford to not be a part of this. But at the same time, we have been so critical of Mamata’s own corruption scandals, how can we share a stage with her,” said a senior Left leader.