Updated: August 28, 2021 5:50:45 am
AFTER RETURNING to power in Bengal for the third straight time earlier this year, Mamata Banerjee and her party, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), are now setting sights on Tripura.
Some senior leaders from Tripura, such as Subal Bhowmik, have already joined TMC. There is speculation that rebel BJP leader Sudip Roy Burman may also join the TMC in the near future. There are rumours that Burman has been camping in Kolkata for two days to meet with TMC General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee. However, a BJP leader close to Burman said, “He (Burman) is very much in Tripura and rumours that he may join TMC are not true.”
Meanwhile, the TMC is planning to celebrate the foundation day of its student wing, the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP), across Tripura on Saturday.
The Trinamool Chhatra Parishad’s (TMCP) founding anniversary will be celebrated in Tripura on August 28. TMC chief Mamata Banerjee will give a virtual speech on the occasion. The TMC is arranging a live streaming of that speech. Earlier, the party had to face obstacles with regard to live-streaming of its July 21 “Shahid Diwas” rally. The rally was allegedly stopped at Agartala and the Tripura police arrested Trinamool (TMC) leaders and workers. In a matter of months, the political landscape has changed a lot in this small state of northeastern India. Thus, Saturday’s programme assumes significance.
Representatives of several student and youth organisations have joined Trinamool recently. It has been decided that the party flag will be hoisted in front of several colleges in Tripura around 8 am, ahead of the live-streaming of Banerjee’s speech.
Meanwhile, TMCP supporters were attacked allegedly by BJP workers in Tripura on Friday. The alleged incident happened during campaigning for the party’s foundation day at a college in Agartala. A student alleged that she had been beaten up, allegedly by members of the ABVP.
After the incident, the TMC decided to organise a protest across the state and two MPs and senior leaders from TMC, Kunal Ghosh and Shantanu Sen will be sent to Tripura on Saturday.
Last week, Congress leader from Assam, Susmita Dev, resigned from the Congress and joined TMC. Congress Tripura president Pijush Kanti Biswas resigned last Saturday, sparking speculations of his joining Mamata Banerjee-led TMC. After resigning from congress, he tweeted, “With sincere gratitude I thank all Congress Leaders, supporters for your cooperation during my tenure as TPCC President (acting). Today I have resigned from the post of President and retired from politics as well. My sincere gratitude towards Hon’ble CP Smt. Sonia Gandhiji.”
Recently, a team of I-PAC visited Tripura to take stock of the ground situation and gauge the potential support base for the TMC. They were detained in their hotel room by the Agartala police for allegedly flouting Covid norms. As soon as word of the incident reached them, senior TMC leader and MP Derek O’Brien reached Tripura to help the I-PAC team. The party had also rushed Bratya Basu, Moloy Ghatak and Ritabrata Banerjee to Tripura to aid the I-PAC members. The prominence accorded to the I-PAC team by the TMC has clearly shown that it is standing solidly behind its extended political arm and will try to cash in on even smaller issues to gain political ground in Tripura.
Notably, the TMC had ceded ground to the BJP in Tripura in 2017 when all its six MLAs, led by Sudip Roy Burman, had joined the saffron party. The alleged attack on the visiting TMC leaders by the BJP workers and targeting of the I-PAC members have helped West Bengal’s ruling party regain some of the lost ground in the state. While the political experts consider the TMC as a challenger to the BJP, the CPM figures nowhere in recent political developments in the state. Last month, seven Congress leaders, including former state minister Prakash Chandra Das, former MLA Subal Bhowmik and Panna Deb had switched over to the TMC. Earlier this month, around 30 workers from the Congress and the BJP joined the TMC. Buoyant from its victory in the Bengal polls and several leaders joining the TMC, the party has got a new lease of life in the state.
TMC MP and Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, who was also attacked in Tripura allegedly by BJP workers, claimed that some BJP leaders, including ministers and MLAs, were in touch with the TMC and may join the party ahead of elections. The party also got a shot in the arm when Sushmita Dev joined the TMC. Notably, Dev’s father, the late Santosh Mohan Dev, was a two-time MP from Tripura and was instrumental in helping the Congress win the 1988 Assembly elections. Sushmita had visited Tripura several times in the past and is a known face in the state.
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