Keen to forge deeper ties with non-BJP parties on a national platform, West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee may attend a couple of rallies of Samajwadi Party- Congress In Uttar Pradesh, where both Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav will be present.
She is also ready to attend a couple of Congress rallies in Punjab, where Gandhi will be present, where she would directly appeal to vote for Congress against the BJP- Shiromani Akali Dal alliance, a senior member of the West Bengal cabinet told HT.
Incidentally, soon after SP- Congress alliance was officially announced on January 22, Mamata Banerjee, in a twitter message, hailed the alliance decision and promised full support to the alliance. “Full support from Trinamool Congress to the good alliance for UP between Congress and Samajwadi Party.” the chief minister twitted.
“It is almost final that Trinamool will not field any candidate this time either in UP or Punjab as the chief minister wants to give a message that she is against division of anti- BJP votes. But she is keen to be part of a couple of mega rallies in both these states to highlight Trinamool’s relentless movement against the anti- people policies of the BJP- lead Union government, especially demonetisation,” the minister said.
According to preliminary decision, Trinamool’s national spokesman and Raja Sabha member, Derek O’Brien will be accompanying the chief minister in rallies both in UP and Punjab.
“In addition, party Look Sabha member, Sultan Ahmed and the state urban development and municipal affairs minister, Firhad (Bobby) Hakim, both fluent in Hindi and Urdu, might accompany the chief minister in the UP rallies,” the member of the state cabinet said.
In the rallies in Punjab, her most likely companion will be Trinamool legislator from Tarakeshwar in Hooghly district and former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, Rachpal Singh, the only Sikh representative in West Bengal assembly now.
Meanwhile, political analysts said that the chief minister’s move to attend rallies in favour of anti- BJP forces in UP and Punjab is an indicator of her desperation to get Congress by her side. Incidentally, Congress stood by Bengal’s ruling party after the two MPs Tapas Paul and Sudip Bandyopadhyay were arrested in connection with the Rose Valley.
“If the investigation of Narada sting operation case in which a dozen ruling party ministers, MPs and MLAs are seen accepting cash, is also handed over to the CBI enquiry, Trinamool Congress will need political parties such as Congress by her side,” a city- based political analyst said.