Unsatisfied with the current political scenario of the state, leaders of the minority community said they are contemplating the emergence of an alternative third force in West Bengal.
“Members of the minority community are looking for an alternative. They are not happy with the Trinamool Congress, but they can’t stop supporting it due to lack of an option. They are unable to depend upon the CPM and falling back on the BJP is out of the question. I am in talks with people like Abdur Rezzak Mollah and some others towards the materialisation of the plan,” said Siddiqullah Chowdhury, prominent Muslim leader and general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-E-Hind.
Ousted CPM leader Mollah, too, expressed similar views. He said he had already put up the Gana Front comprising Muslim and tribal parties. “There are three Muslim parties and three Dalit parties in the forum at the moment. I have had a word with other leaders such as Siddiqullah Chowdhury, who assured help in terms of seat-sharing,” Mollah said.
He said that in the forthcoming municipal corporation elections to held on April 18, the party would pitch 20 candidates in Murshidabad, three in Kolkata, one at Barasat and two at Sonarpur. “After the results for the MLC polls are out, we would be in a better position to judge the situation. If we win at some places, we would be in a better position to negotiate,” he said.
Mollah added that his party would pitch candidates for the Assembly elections next year at 46 seats extending from Murshidabad to North Dinajpore, where minority votes are a decisive factor.
“I have had a word with TMC leader Humayun Kabir who had said that he would help me at Beldanga,” he said.
Both Siddiqullah and Mollah are however, divided on having sidelined TMC MP Mukul Roy with them. “I have had a word with him over the phone and would talk in details when we meet. But, I have told him clearly that talks with him with only be of any consequence if he guarantees that he would have nothing to do with the BJP,” Mollah said.
Siddiqullah, on the other hand, said bringing in Roy might backfire. “Muslims will not take this very well. Now, he appears as a well-wisher, but how many Muslims got jobs when he was the railway minister?,” Siddiqullah asked.