As TMC Tries to Read Opposition Pulse, Left-Cong Consolidate Their Alliance


CPI(M)'s state secretary, Mohammad Salim, said it is difficult to believe that the BJP and Trinamool are opposing each other.

KOLKATA — With the BJP virtually setting the tone for launching full-fledged preparatory measures for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the other political parties in West Bengal, such as the ruling Trinamool Congress, Left Front and the Congress, are yet to focus on specific strategies for the mega battle for New Delhi’s throne in 2024.

While a major reason for these parties not yet focusing on their respective strategies for next year’s Lok Sabha polls is because of the panchayat elections scheduled this year, there are some internal issues for Trinamool, Left Front and Congress that are hindering their respective leadership from setting the bull’s-eye for 2024 in line with the BJP.

As envisaged by the political observes based on the statements made by different leaders of these non-BJP parties, while Trinamool is busy scaling the pulse of the national opposition, especially the non-Congress regional parties, the concentration of CPI(M)-led Left Front and Congress is to consolidate the alliance between them with the panchayat polls this year as the bouncing-board on this count.

The statements from the leaders of these political parties clearly indicate why they are on an observatory phase for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, rather than hurrying their respective strategies.

While the Trinamool has made it clear to maintain a distance with the Congress in their own blueprint of Opposition alliance, the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandopadhyay, has made it clear that currently, the target is to build coordination with the different regional parties in the country having strengths in their respective states.

He also said that Trinamool is not thinking of any third-front model.

“We are not speaking of any third-front model right now. Mamata Banerjee will hold dialogues with the leaders of different regional parties which have substantial strength in their respective states,” Bandopadhyay said.

Mamata Banerjee had herself made it clear that fighting the 2024 Lok Sabha polls after identifying the principal face of the Opposition, or to be more precise projecting the prime ministerial candidate, is not in the scheme of things of Trinamool Congress right at this juncture.

“Our target is to bring down BJP from its position of power, instead of thinking of who will be the leader after the polls,” the Chief Minister had said.

If scaling the national Opposition pulse is currently the prime priority for Trinamool, for the CPI(M)-led Left Front and the Congress, the focus is consolidating their understanding and alliance, which will start with the panchayat polls this year, and will be carried forward in the general elections next year.

Leaders of both Congress and CPI(M) have admitted that the implementation of the successful alliance model throughout West Bengal has become even more necessary after its success in the recent Assembly bypoll to the Sagardighi constituency in Murshidabad district, where Left Front-supported Congress candidate Bayron Biswas emerged as the victor from the minority-dominated stronghold of Trinamool.

The Sagardighi model also worked wonders for the alliance in some local body polls, where both Trinamool and BJP got wiped out in the face of Left-Congress unity.

The leaders of both the parties have claimed that their current focus is to spread a united movement throughout the state on various issues against the Trinamool government, such as recruitment scam and dearness alliance (DA) crisis, among others, to reap benefits for the alliance in the panchayat polls.

In fact, a major official show of Left-Congress unity was shown on the streets of Kolkata on March 29, when top state leaders participated in a joint rally, protesting the non-payment of DA to the state government employees. The workers of Left Front and Congress participated in the rally in huge numbers, carrying their respective flags.

According to CPI(M) politburo member and the party’s state secretary, Mohammad Salim, the joint agitations will be spread throughout the state in the coming days.

“We are inviting all those who are against both the BJP and Trinamool Congress to join our movement,” Salim said.

According to Congress leader and counsel in the Calcutta High Court, Kaustav Bagchi, it is difficult to believe that the BJP and Trinamool are opposing each other.

“They are clandestine partners. So, we must develop a united Opposition movement involving the common people. Sagardighi has shown the way and it is time to replicate the same in the panchayat polls,” he said.

The panchayat polls in West Bengal since 2008 have given indications of the imminent changes in the political equations in the state.

The 2008 panchayat polls gave the first indication of the growing cracks in the red fort, which turned into major fissures in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and ultimately led to the collapse of the Left in 2011.

The 2018 panchayat polls gave the first indication that the BJP is evolving as the major opposition force in West Bengal, replacing the Left Front and the Congress, which turned true in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the 2021 Assembly elections. — IANS


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