The scaling down of the Congress demand for seats in West Bengal seems to have little impact on the ally Trinamool’s course of action in Assam.
In the northeastern state, the Mamata Banerjee-led party is set to announce its candidates for all the 126 assembly seats. The Trinamool has announced its nominees for 98 seats for the elections, to be held in two phases, and the candidates’ list for the rest of the seats is expected on Wednesday.
Banerjee will campaign in the state. She had once said she was willing to concede more seats to the Congress in her home state if in return the Trinamool was given space to contest in Assam.
“The winds of change are blowing not only in Bengal but also in Assam. Mamata Banerjee’s Ma Maati Manush (Trinamool slogan, meaning mother, earth, and man) will sweep the polls here. We have already announced the names of candidates in some seats. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we will announce the list for all the seats,” said Biswajit Handique, Trinamool spokesperson in Assam, on the phone.
“Congress workers and leaders are joining us in hundreds every day,” Handique added.
Trinamool general secretary Alok Ghosh had said: “We have a realistic chance of winning at least 25 seats,” adding, “we have been careful in selecting our candidates, and we filtered even those who came from other parties”.
Ghosh said his party wasn’t mulling a Manipur-like electoral tie-up with the BJP, but was open to post-poll alliances. The party has targeted Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims, who together comprise 45% of Assam’s population.
Meanwhile, a section of Congress leaders and workers have changed sides. Former industry minister Bizit Saikia is contesting from Tezpur on the Trinamool ticket.
The Congress had earlier released its list of candidates for 118 seats. The list has 49 new faces.