Listen to our advice more, suggested an upbeat Trinamool Congress to the Congress after the latter failed to give an impressive performance in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa assembly elections.
A section of the Congress managers had initially hoped that a good show in Uttar Pradesh would strengthen the UPA alliance by roping in new partners. At the same time, it was expected that the dependence on Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress will also diminish.
Banerjee had forced the UPA to stall several key policies, from FDI in multi-brand retail to the latest decision of rolling out National Counter-Terror Centre.
But the election results —where the Congress finished fourth in the race — have jeopardised the ruling party’s plans.
Now, key Congress managers expect the Trinamool to exert more pressure on the coalition. “We would not be surprised if Mamata Banerjee pitches for her own party’s candidate for the next presidential and vice presidential elections,” said a senior Congress leader.
Firhad Hakim, a cabinet minister in West Bengal and Banerjee’s key lieutenant, told HT, “It is proved once again that we don’t need the Congress to survive in West Bengal. But the Congress needs us to run the UPA government.”
“At times, the Congress tried to bulldoze its decision. Now, we expect that the Congress will listen to us more before taking any decision. The Manipur results have further established the fact that Mamata Banerjee is an important leader on the national level,” Hakim added.
The dynamics were spelt out clearly when Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh told a news channel, “We need Mamata’s help.”