New Delhi, March 6: Mamata Banerjee today found reason for cheer in Manipur where Trinamul picked up seven seats, extending its footprint in the Northeast and taking baby steps towards recognition as a national party.
The outcome is being seen as a shot in Trinamuls arm as it sees the party spreading its wings to one more state outside Bengal. It is the partys best showing in the Northeast yet, bettering the five seats it bagged in the 2009 Arunachal Pradesh elections.
Todays tally of seven seats puts Trinamul way behind the Congress that has bagged 42, but it has still emerged as the second largest party in the state.
Apart from Manipur, there was no good news for the party from the other states. In Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Trinamul candidates lost their deposits in most seats. The party had contested 140 of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and 15 of 70 in Uttarakhand. It did not contest in Punjab.
It had high expectations in Goa, having convinced former chief minister Wilfred DSouza to take charge of the party. But the results dashed its hopes. Not only did DSouza lost his deposit from Aldona, polling just 643 votes, most other Trinamul candidates lost, too.
In Uttar Pradesh, the party had hoped to trounce RLD chief Ajit Singhs son Jayant Chaudhary in Mathuras Mant segment but failed. Trinamuls Shyam Sundar Sharma, a veteran from the region, initially gave Jayant a tough fight but lost by over 16,000 votes.
With Trinamul unable to open its account in the heartland, its hidden agenda to harm the Congress in Uttar Pradesh came a cropper, sources said. The battle there was largely bipolar, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party being the principal players.
Trinamuls main objective in fielding candidates in states where it has no presence is to secure national party status. One requirement for such recognition is that candidates fielded in at least four states should get at least six per cent of the total votes polled.
Its clear that Trinamuls dream of becoming a national party is not being fulfilled soon, said CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, taking a dig at the Lefts arch-rival in Bengal. The CPM is recognised as a national party.
Yechury said the Assembly poll verdict was against the Congress but felt that it would not have much impact on the Centre.
Trinamul observer Sourav Chakravorty said he was satisfied with the partys showing in Manipur. We were expecting 10 seats and have got seven. We have finished as the second-largest party and will sit as a responsible Opposition party in the Assembly and work for the people of Manipur, he said.