Though in alliance with the Left, he does not want to displease Mamata who is still crucial for the future Congress politics
Soroor Ahmed | Clarion India
FORMER Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s decision not to share dais with the Left Front leaders, including CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, at Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on February 28 and his plan to concentrate in Kerala is being interpreted in several ways in poll-bound West Bengal.
Rahul has reportedly decided to campaign only for the Congress party’s candidates in West Bengal though the party is contesting the coming Assembly election in alliance with the Left Front. Instead he has hardened his stand against the ruling Left Democratic Front in Kerala. He is now not missing any opportunity to attack the state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Political analysts are of the view that Rahul wants to hit two birds with one stone. By not personally going all out against the Trinamool Congress government of Mamata Banerjee—when he is leaving no stone unturned to see the LDF defeated in Kerala—Rahul, in a way is lending strategic support to the present chief minister of West Bengal.
No doubt his party is in alliance with the Left Front but he does not want to displease Mamata too, who is single-handedly fighting the BJP with her back to wall. As Mamata is still crucial for the future Congress politics, she cannot be left in the lurch. If she really loses to the BJP the Congress too would be largely blamed for it.
Though the state Congress leaders are opposed to Mamata and Left Front has not forgiven her for the 2011 defeat, Rahul wants to see to it that at the constituency-level the BJP votes are divided and not that of Trinamool Congress.
Close Rahul-watchers are of the view that though he wants to keep the state Congress leaders in good humour and would address some election meetings of party candidates, he would not turn up for the same for the Left Front candidates.
With sister Priyanka Gandhi of late very active in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to poll next year, and Rahul going all out against the LDF in Kerala, the Gandhis have a personal point to score. They want to silence the critics within the party that the Congress is getting weaker and weaker every day. Needless to say, on February 27, about half a dozen leaders of the Group of 23 gathered in Jammu where they have the common complaint against the party leadership.
In Kerala, the Congress-led United Democratic Front and Left Democratic Front have been winning elections alternatively for the last about five decades. If the Marxists make it two in a row this time it would give another opportunity for the critics of Rahul within the party and outside to lambast him. That is why Rahul is putting all his energies to snatch power from the Left this time.
Reports from Kerala suggest that he is drawing big crowds and has brought the Congress in a fighting position. The fight which till a few months back was considered as a cakewalk for Vijayan, is now appearing much tougher.
Not only that, Rahul wants to put up a big fight in Assam and Tamil Nadu where his party has gone into alliances with the All India United Democratic Front and DMK respectively.
If the DMK-Congress alliance wins in Tamil Nadu, and the Congress’ performance improves much in Kerala and Assam it would be a shot in the arm for Rahul. He is fully aware that his party is not going to achieve anything big in West Bengal so why antagonise Mamata, who was a partner in UPA-II. In fact, it was the TMC-Congress alliance which uprooted the Left Front from power in 2011.
So instead of Rahul, the Congress decided to be represented at Kolkata rally by the state president Adheer Ranjan Chaudhary, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and party’s in charge for West Bengal, Jitin Prasad.