In a tactical move, the Trinamool Congress and Abdur Rezzak Mollah – the expelled, former CPM state committee member are in discussion over forming a TMC-led front for the 2016 elections in which Mollah’s NayVichar Manch could be a constituent.
Mollah had launched a new front after being expelled from the CPM for his alleged anti-party activities in February 2014. Mollah’s front may be allotted a couple of state assembly seats as part of an electoral alliance, according top Trinamool Congress sources. Talks are underway, they said.
An important Muslim leader, Mollah is known for his strong political moorings and even in 2011 when most of the CPM leaders were grounded by TMC sweep, including the state chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Mollah retained his Canning Purba seat in South Parganas. He continues to be an MLA from 1977 till now – an unbroken run of nearly 37 years.
Top TMC sources said that Mollah’s front wanted the Canning Purba seat, where his younger son Mustaq Ahmad could be fielded as a candidate in 2016 state assembly polls and another seat in South 24-Parganas. The TMC was willing to concede the seats, considering that the alliance could have significant impact, consolidating the Muslim and other backward community votes towards the TMC-led alliance.
Sultan Ahmed, a Trinamool Congress MP, who is believed to be in the know of things, when contacted said: “The TMC considers Mollah as a truly non-CPM politician after he left the communist party and launched his own outfit. He has leadership qualities and has risen from the grassroots. The TMC would certainly like to have him in the fold but the decision will be taken and announced formally by the party supremo – Mamata Banerjee,” said Ahmed.
After being expelled from the CPM, Mollah had launched the Bharatiya Nayvichar Manch – a platform for Muslim, dalits and other backward communities. Mollah was the Land and land Reforms minister but was totally against Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s move to acquire agricultural land in Singur. He made his disapproval known in various forms and gradually earned the wrath of the party higher ups. He stubbornly held on to his views against forcible acquisition of land and had to finally quit the party for uttering anti-party remarks continuously.
However, his Bharatiya Nayvichar Manch too had some trouble within and he once again redesigned it as NayVichar Manch when some of his close aides differed with his stands on various issues. Mollah had several rounds of talks with Mukul Roy also – the estranged Trinamol Congress MP who is also believed to be heading towards launching a new party.
Asked about the electoral understanding with the Trinamool Congress, he said: “My doors are neither open, nor shut. But as of now, I am alone. Should there be any understanding with the TMC, there has to be discussion with other leaders within the Manch,and I can’t take any unilateral decision,” said Mollah.
Faruqu Ahmad, editor of Udar Aakash – a magazine that highlights Muslim and minority issues said Rezzak Mollah’s joining the TMC led front would be setback for a secular anti-TMC front which was taking shape in Bengal for some time.
Md Selim, – a CPM politburo member when asked about the move, said: “I do not attach any importance to it. He has left our party and we are not in touch with him. We are not interested in him,” said Selim.