The party’s pathetic show in the recent-concluded civic polls to 92 municipal bodies, including Kolkata Municipal Corporation, in West Bengal notwithstanding, former Union minister Jairam Ramesh Sunday projected Congress as the only alternative to ruling Trinamool Congress in state.
He, however, made it clear that new faces will be brought in to rejuvenate the party’s state unit.
“Only MLAs don’t make a party. We may not have much votes or seats, but we have a presence all over Bengal. (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee had got people’s mandate in 2011 but she has lost it now. People have seen the Left’s misrule too. It makes the Congress the only alternative,” Ramesh said.
He said party needs to carry out an aggressive campaign. “I think we have gone so down that the only way is to go up. We must get new faces. It is an ongoing process where the new comes in to join the existing leadership,” he said.
“I am not saying it is easy. It is going to take some time. But I think Bengal is ready for real parivartan. The 2011 parivartan was a false parivartan, a bogus parivartan. One tanashahi (dictatorship) was replaced by another tanashahi. One political violence was replaced by another form of political violence. Now, people are ready for a genuine change,” he added.
He said he was aware about the exodus of leaders from the party and added that those who were hungry for power were leaving.
Stating that the party proposes to go it alone in when the state goes to polls next year, Ramesh said there is no plan to tie-up with any other outfit. “Why are you always assuming that we are going for an alliance? Did we go for an alliance for municipal polls or the Lok Sabha polls in 2014,” he said, adding “It is the TMC which has been formed out of the Congress”.
On Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks that there is no understanding between BJP and TMC, Ramesh said, “He is the most effective spinner in Indian politics. Jaitley is more than the combined force of finest spinners Indian cricket has ever produced. When Jaitley says that there is no understanding between TMC and BJP, I am assured that the opposite is true,” the former Union minister said, adding the two are two sides of the same coin.
He alleged that in the last two-three months there has been a lull in the investigation into the Saradha chitfund scam, which is being handled by the CBI. To a query on possibility of TMC leader Mukul Roy joining Congress, he said mere speculation doesn’t mean that any person is joining a party.”Mukul had begun his political career with Congress. There is no ban on talks (speculation) in politics but that doesn’t ensure anyone joining any party,” he added.