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Bengal polls: ‘Insider-outsider’ to be key theme of TMC campaign

The party, they said, will push the idea that the BJP, which is being seen as its primary contender as it tries to retain power in the state for the third time, has brought in “people from outside” who do not understand Bengal.

Mamata Banerjee. (PTI)

Besides development, “insider vs outsider” will be one of the primary themes of the Trinamool Congress’s campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal, according to party leaders.

The party, they said, will push the idea that the BJP, which is being seen as its primary contender as it tries to retain power in the state for the third time, has brought in “people from outside” who do not understand Bengal.

Trinamool supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will address a public rally in Bankura on Wednesday, her first public rally since the pandemic began, virtually beginning what is expected to be a fierce political contest.

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A senior Trinamool leader said that over the next few months, the party will emphasise “lack of local leadership in the BJP”.

On its social media handles, the Trinamool has already launched a campaign, likely to be a slogan through the election — “Banglar Gorbo Mamata (Bengal’s pride Mamata)”.

“Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is the pride of Bengal. Who does the BJP have to counter her? It is a point the TMC will make: look at the BJP team in Bengal. Amit Shah is leading the charge, the state in-charges are Kailash Vijayvargiya, Amit Malviya and Arvind Menon. They do not understand Bengal. They are only pushing divisiveness while we will push development and the Bengali identity,” a TMC leader said.

That the Trinamool leadership is not taking the BJP lightly is evident by the selection of the venue for Banerjee’s first rally after the pandemic.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Bankura just a week ago. Addressing a gathering Monday, the TMC supremo described Shah’s recent visit to a tribal household in Bankura for lunch as “show off” and claimed that the food items served to the BJP leader were cooked at five-star hotels — the allegation has been rubbished by the BJP.

She also hit out at Shah for apparently mistaking a statue of a tribal hunter for that of freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

Banerjee is spending two days in Bankura. Among the 18 Lok Sabha seats the BJP won in Bengal in 2019 are Bankura and Bishnupur, which cover 13 Assembly segments.

In the run-up to Banerjee’s rally, the Trinamool has organised a press conference a day on various issues and addressed by a different leader or minister.

“Not only in Kolkata, we are also holding district-level press conferences regularly. This is also to show our bench strength as a party. While Mamata Banerjee is our leader, we have other Bengali stalwarts who are part of the TMC. Leaders Bengalis know and recognise. The issues being raised are also positive. One day on healthcare, another day on what has been done for women,” a senior party leader said.

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