Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will today hit the campaign trail in North Bengal,where she is looking to strengthen the grassroots level alliance with the Congress in its bastion,besides banking on a possible split in the Left Fronts votes.
Meanwhile,Congress leaders of North Bengal,including Deepa Dasmunsi,who were once staunch crit
ics of the alliance,have softened their stand and plan to jointly campaign with local Trinamool leaders. We are gradually increasing our strength in North Bengal. The Lok Sabha elections are a test case for our partys organisation there. Two factors that will work for us are the Nandigram and Singur issues. Recently,a number of people from the Left and Congress have joined our ranks in North Bengal, said Partho Chatterjee,a Trinamool leader who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly.
According to party sources,Banerjee plans to buy peace with a section of Congress leaders in North Bengal,including Dasmunsi,as she needs their support to gain a toehold in the area. Dasmunsi had earlier been critical of the 28:14 seat-sharing formula of the Trinamool-Congress alliance.
Banerjee is also pinning her hopes on the recent fissures in the Left Front in parts of North Bengal. In Alipurduar,sitting MP Joachim Baxla of the RSP has deserted his party after being denied a re-nomination. Baxla as an Independent candidate is expected to dent Left votes in Alipurduar. Moreover,if our alliance can unite all anti-Left votes,we will have the much-needed edge, said a senior Trinamool leader. In Coochbihar too,the CPM is ill at ease with allies like Forward Bloc,which fought the recent panchayat elections on its own.
Significantly,Banerjee has chosen the son of Amar Roy Pradhan,a former RSP leader,as her candidate in Coochbihar,where as Paban Lakra is her candidate in Alipurduar and Biplab Mitra in Balurghat.