Assembly election results: TMC expansion plan faces jolt

Mar 02, 2023 08:30 PM IST

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) drew a blank in Tripura and won just five seats in Meghalaya in the just-concluded assembly elections in the northeast states

With zero seats in Tripura and just five in Meghalaya, the Trinamool Congress (TMC)’s plans to expand beyond West Bengal has suffered a setback ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. In last year’s Goa polls too, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s party failed to open its account.

The Trinamool Congress has claimed that the assembly elections results are a decent beginning for the party. (Representative Image)
The Trinamool Congress has claimed that the assembly elections results are a decent beginning for the party. (Representative Image)

While the party got less votes (0.88%) than NOTA (1.36%) in Tripura, in Meghalaya it managed 5 seats and 13.7% votes. But after the party won over 12 of 17 Congress MLAs in November 2021, its victory in five constituencies in this election might be a dampener to the party’s plans.

The Congress, which lost its position in Meghalaya assembly to TMC’s poaching, hit out on Thursday. “There are some parties who think they can get stronger by taking away some people from the Congress. But their performance hasn’t been up to their expectations,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said.

In Meghalaya, the Trinamool won four seats in Garo Hills—the stronghold of party leader and former chief minister Mukul Sangma—one in Khasi hills and drew a blank in Jaintia Hills. In Tripura, the TMC had secured nearly 20% votes in 2018 Agartala municipal polls, fuelling hopes that the party would turn the Tripura assembly poll into a three-corner flight.

These elections were important for the TMC to consolidate on the gains it has in West Bengal, emerge as a potential rival of the Congress in dominating the Opposition camp and take on the BJP in at least 2-3 states. But the results underlined that the Trinamool’s strategy for expansion needs a thorough relook for, in these elections, the party tried to avoid the mistakes it made in Goa and work on the ground for a considerable period of time before entering the electoral race.

The Trinamool, however, claimed it has a “decent beginning”. “Congratulations to the people of Meghalaya for expressing themselves. The BJP, in spite of pipe full of money, ended up with three seats. On debut, we got close to 15% of the vote and 5 seats. It’s been only a year since we started Meghalaya TMC. A decent beginning by any yardstick,” said Derek O’Brien, TMC Parliamentary party leader in Rajya Sabha.

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