IN THE middle of rumours in West Bengal’s political circles that the BJP is trying to woo a section of ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders and legislators, an anti-TMC outfit launched two years ago is being revived to contest next year’s panchayat elections and take on the ruling party.
The party, Nationalist Trinamool Congress (NTC), was floated after Mukul Roy, once Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s trusted aide, was removed as the party general secretary in 2015. While Roy returned as TMC vice-president in the run-up to last year’s Assembly polls, the party remained dormant for the last two years. Mamata had recently removed Roy as the party’s observer for Tripura, where Congress-turned-TMC MLAs have joined the BJP.
Asserting that the party is “being revived”, Amitava Majumder, NTC president and once a close aide of Roy, said: “We are a political party registered by Election Commission of India. We will hold talks with all Opposition parties for seat adjustments and place candidates in elections, starting from panchayat elections next year.” Alongside the party’s revival, there are plans to launch a platform — named ‘Khola Hawa’ — on August 9 where leaders of all opposition political parties and intellectuals have been invited, Majumder said.
He clarified that the party does not have any relation with the TMC leader this time. “We are not in touch with Mukul Roy this time,” Majumder said. “There is anarchy in Bengal; law and order has broken down, and a syndicate raj is going on…. The Narada sting has shown ruling party leaders are corrupt. In such a situation we are trying our best to organise an opposition.” While there is speculation that Roy is maintaining an understanding with the BJP, which is going all out to increase its footprint in Bengal in the run-up to 2019 General Election, the Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP has scotched such “rumours” repeatedly.
TMC secretary general and state minister Partha Chatterjee on Monday also brushed aside such speculation. “There are media reports that he is likely to join BJP. Such speculative reports are baseless. He is with the party and will continue to work for the party,” Chatterjee said. He also said, “In Trinamool Congress, no one is an alternative to Mamata Banerjee. She herself is her alternative.”
According to sources, the new party is keeping future plans under wrap but it is evident that there is an attempt to woo leaders from the TMC.
With inputs from Santanu Chowdhury