With the festive season over, it’s time for serious politics. To take on BJP head on, Trinamool Congress is going to take the first formal step towards resuscitating the idea of a federal front with the publication of booklet that will appeal to ‘like-minded organisations’ across the country.
The booklet the draft of which is waiting for a nod of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, will target BJP on a number of issues such as cow politics, love jihad, ghar wapsi, the Centre impinging on the federal structure of the country and Trinamool’s spectacular success in the Singur episode.
The party will also highlight the Centre’s ‘step motherly’ treatment of the states though it will not directly mention Bengal’s fiscal trouble. The booklet will be published shortly and will be in Bengali to begin with.
Leaders of Bengal’s ruling party told HT that they are not directly urging any party to join hands, but will leave it open. A leader pointed out that even Congress is not an untouchable in this fight.
“We have stressed the need for formation of a platform at the national level with like-minded organisations that will take on the challenges posed by communal and divisive forces,” said a senior Trinamool leader, requesting anonymity.
Mamata Banerjee’s plans for a national role were evident on May 27, the day when she took oath for the second time as chief minister. All the prominent faces who can be members of the so-called Third Front -- Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Farooq Abdullah, Arvind Kejriwal and K Kanimozhi -- were present at the swearing in ceremony and later Mamata herself remarked that she will be happy to push the cause of a non-BJP non-Congress front.
“We have to spread the roots of Trinamool Congress to Delhi. You have to take us to a position where we can serve the people from Delhi,” she said on June 21 speaking to party leaders and workers in Netaji Indoor stadium.
In fact, she kept lambasting BJP on almost every ‘Hindutwa’ issue from beef ban to cow census. On July 21, at a flagship party programme in the city, she said, “What I choose to eat is my own sweet decision, and none else has any say in it.”
On October 22 in a meeting in her residence with party leaders, the Trinamool chief instructed them to prepare for movements against BJP. It was decided in the meeting that the party will publish a booklet detailing its stance. Saugata Roy, the MP from Dum Dum Lok Sabha constituency was made the convenor and six more MPs were included in the team that drafted the booklet.
“The draft is complete and the chief minister will approve it shortly. It has been decided to publish the booklet in Bengali only,” said another Trinamool insider.
There are three issues that the party has decided to highlight.
“The struggle of our party chief for returning the Singur land will be mentioned. The Singur movement was not limited to Bengal. After she launched the movement, many farmers across the country like Haryana have started looking up to her as a champion of farmer rights. Scholars in Oxford University too are working on research papers on the movement,” said an MP.
The party is also going to make issues out of cow politics, Love Jihad and Ghar Wapsi -- all close to the heart of the ruling party at the Centre on which Bengal’s ruling party has an antagonistic stand.
“BJP is trying to play the communal card on each of these issues. We will mention all these in the booklet and then launch movements on the ground,” said the Trinamool leader.
The booklet is also going to mention the alleged step motherly attitude of BJP regarding allocation of funds to the state. Incidentally, Mamata Banerjee, has often lambasted the Centre for not addressing its fiscal trouble, but is not alluding to the problem in the document.
“It has become a tradition for the Centre to deprive the state government on financial matters. Moreover, the Centre has started impinging on the federal structure of the country like abolition of Planning Commission and trying to track every expenditure of the state government,” said another Trinamool leader.
“One should remember that Planning Commission was a crucial body for the development of the country. All state governments across the country are suffering for this decision.”