The Trinamool Congress is eying UP as a battle ground for the Lok Sabha elections in a way it has never done before. From organising rallies — four in a month’s time — to ensuring party chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee attends her first-ever election rally in the state, the TMC has announced it will contest from 10 to 15 seats.
“We will contest elections from 10 to 15 ‘good’ seats in the state,” said Shyam Sundar Sharma, state president and the party’s only MLA in UP.
Sharma, who won the by-election from Mant (Mathura) on a TMC ticket, said that when his party can defeat the ruling Samajwadi Party in Assembly by-election, “I am confident we will open our account from UP even in the parliamentary polls.”
Former railway minister and party general secretary Mukul Roy, former union minister for state Sultan Ahmad and other senior leaders will be addressing these rallies, Sharma informed. “In March, Mamata is also expected to address rallies in the state,” he said.
Though Mamata’s programme is still tentative, she is expected to address at least four rallies – in Mathura, Lucknow, Pilibhit and either Varanasi or Allahabad, said party vice-president Saurabh Bandhopadhyay. “The programme is yet to be finalised but we expect them to be held after the Budget session of the Parliament,” he said, confirming that this would be the first occasion that Mamata would be addressing election rallies in the state. The party is planning to contest from at least 10 to 15 parliamentary constituencies in UP.
“Preparations at the grassroots level for candidates in the selected constituencies have been completed from our end. The candidates will be finalised by Mamata after the January 30 rally in Kolkata, where she might declare the total number of seats from which we will contest the elections in Uttar Pradesh,” said Bandhopadhyay.
He also ruled out any pre-poll alliance in UP with any state or national party, including the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. “We will go it alone in the elections and will contest against all the parties,” he said.
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