UP, Bengal showing new equations against BJP, says Abhishek Manu Singhvi
At a party programme in Kolkata on March 8, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced her party’s support for Congress candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi in the Rajya Sabha polls.Updated: Mar 12, 2018 09:55 IST
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)’s support to arch-rival Samajwadi Party (SP) candidates in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal’s ruling party Trinamool Congress’ support to Congress in Rajya Sabha election show the emergence of new political equations against BJP, said senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
“Being in the opposition at the state level is no longer hindering seat coordination from the national perspective. Parties can continue debate and discourse at the state level while coordinating against the common enemy at the national level,” said Singhvi, whose nomination as Congress candidate from Bengal got Mamata Banerjee’s support, much to the embarrassment of the state Congress leadership.
The bypolls in Uttar Pradesh became necessary after UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated their Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats after getting elected to the state legislative council.
“I have no hesitation in saying that the need of the hour, not only going up to the next Parliamentary elections, but in several state elections with the regional party presence, is to prevent vote divisiveness. We have seen many times how in a trilateral or quadrangular fight, the BJP generates a climate of divisiveness and provocation and then benefits from vote division,” said Singhvi.
“It is vital to marry and harmonise the national level perspective with diverse, valid state issues. I find no necessary or inevitable paradox or contradiction in that.”
In Bengal, the Congress is facing a bitter challenge from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, with the latter aggressively trying to wipe out Congress from its last fortresses in Bengal districts of Murshidabad and Malda.
Singhvi said that Trinamool’s support to his candidature would not affect Congress’ fight against Trinamool’s governance and policies in Bengal.
“Today, the sad reality is that vendetta politics, persecution complexes, intolerance, divisiveness and a palpable ambience of fear and intimidation is felt and articulated by parties as diverse as DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) in the south, Trinamool, BJP and RJD in the east, BSP and SP in the north and even Shiv Sena in the west, without even talking of the Congress,” he alleged.
Both Bengal Congress President Adhir Chowdhury and leader of the opposition in the state Assembly, Abdul Mannan, are known for their staunch anti-Trinamool stance.
The state Congress leadership is more comfortable in coordinating with the CPI(M), and Chowdhury went on to publicly express his frustration over CPI(M)’s refusal to nominate party general secretary Sitaram Yechury as a candidate from Bengal with Congress’ support.
CPI(M) later fielded its own candidate, accusing Congress of declaring its candidate unilaterally. Trinamool’s support, however, ensures Singhvi’s victory.
“The CPI(M), the Trinamool and the Congress’ attitude in Bengal clearly show Bengal’s arithmetic, history and geography stands against BJP,” said Singhvi.
Incidentally, last year too, Trinamool had supported Congress candidate Pradip Bhattacharya who got elected in Rajya Sabha. Bengal’s ruling party had extra votes in hand after getting its own candidates elected, while neither the Left nor the Congress could have clinched the seat on its own strength.
Over the past few days Mamata Banerjee has telephoned Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and DMK leader M K Stalin to explore setting up an anti-BJP front for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Earlier, she also indicated her willingness to strike an understanding with her arch rivals, the Left, to take on the BJP.
She also regretted the defeat of the Left in Tripura Assembly elections.
First Published: Mar 12, 2018 09:55 IST