Riding high on back-to-back victories in the recently-held rural and civic body elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will kick-off the campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from the Brigade Parade Ground Thursday.
Mamata is expected to lay bare her political message of playing a “crucial” and a “more decisive” role in the formation of the next government in Delhi, Mukul Roy, all India general secretary of the Trinamool Congress said Wednesday.
A day before the big event, Roy, the TMC second in command after Mamata, made it clear in an interview to a local Bengali channel that the party was maintaining an equi-distance from the BJP and the Congress. “The people have clearly rejected the Congress as was evident in the Assembly polls in five states recently,” Roy said.
“It also made it clear that there was no Modi wave as was being projected,” he said, adding that both Congress and the BJP will fall far short of the magic number and the regional parties, such as the Trinamool Congress, will have a decisive role in the formation of the government.
He indicated that Mamata had consciously kept herself confined to the state politics in the last three years. He said that the Left in Bengal has virtually been decimated and “terminally marginalized.” The Congress has withered away and many of its leaders have joined the Trinamool Congress.
“Under the circumstances, Didi is in a position to play a bigger role in national politics and she will do that,” Roy said in an overt admission of the TMC’s “national ambitions”, which include some leaders’ views that Mamata might be even pitching for the post Prime Minister, should the situation evolve in such manner.
Sources in the party said Mamata may also declare the names of some select Lok Sabha candidates during the Brigade rally. Among the contenders, the names of her nephew, Abhisekh Banerjee, is doing the rounds. Abhisekh is currently the all India president of Trinamool Congress Yuva.
The buzz that Abhishek might be fielded in the Lok Sabha elections gained momentum after he was seen touring widely in different parts of South 24-Parganas and also in some other districts, holding election rallies and explaining to the voters how Harish Chatterjee Street (Mamata’s residence) will decide the next Prime Minister.
The list of party candidates this time is said to be loaded with non-political personalities – ranging from doctors, film personalities to sports and cultural personalities.
Some TMC leaders, however, indicated that Mamata might withhold most of the names as the other parties have not yet disclosed their choice of candidates. Some part leaders said, Didi may forge a last minute electoral alliance with the Congress on her terms.
However, Shakil Ahmed, the AICC leader who along with C P Joshi looks after Bengal, talking to The Indian Express said, there was no chance of a pre-poll alliance with the Trinamool. “We are putting up candidates for all the 42 seats,” said Ahmed.
State Congress leaders had earlier written to the AICC and met party vice-president Rahul Gandhi against any pre-poll alliance with the Trinamool.
“The Congress’s death warrant in Bengal was written after it contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls jointly with the TMC,” said a senior Congress leader.
Meanwhile, all TMC ministers, MPs, district and grass root leaders have been asked to make the Brigade Parade Ground rally a historic one considering that two more rallies —- BJP’s Narendra Modi will address a rally on February 5 followed by one of Left Front on February 9.