Agartala, Feb. 10: There is one poll hoarding near Sankar Chowmuhani in Krishnanagar here that invites curious glances. It shows the Trinamul Congress logo with a beaming portrait of party leader Mamata Banerjee and calls for an oath for change to “create a new Tripura”.
The party, of course, is not contesting the Assembly elections, though it had earlier announced its resolve to do so.
Advocate Arun Chandra Bhaumik, former chairman of the party, whose name appears on the hoarding, told The Telegraph he got an inkling of the state of things to come when Mamata hinted that an alliance with the Congress may not work out in Tripura after she had withdrawn support from the UPA government in Delhi.
“From the political standpoint, Bengal and Tripura share similar histories. We have no industry or corporate sector, but domination over people is the same. In Tripura, the only exception is Congress rule between 1988 and 1993, while it was continuous Left presence in Bengal,” Bhaumik, who was the Trinamul’s Lok Sabha candidate in 2009, said.
“Had the Assembly elections in Tripura taken place right after the polls in Bengal, the Trinamul-Congress alliance would have come to power. We are facing the consequences of all that happened in the relations between Mamata and New Delhi in the past year,” the advocate rued. “The ground reality in Tripura is such that we cannot go it alone.”
The other factor that came in the way of the Trinamul contesting was the upcoming panchayat polls in Bengal. “That was the deciding factor. Instead of spending time campaigning for us in Tripura, Didi decided to focus on the panchayat elections.”
The Tripura unit of the party was launched on August 19, 2009 headed by Sudhir Ranjan Majumder. Mamata had been present at the launch, following which Majumder contested the parliamentary polls, securing the second spot.
“Unlike in Bengal, the trend of party-hopping was the reverse in Tripura,” Bhaumik said. “Miffed Congressmen who joined the Trinamul returned to the Congress. Had the elections in Tripura been held last year, when the CPM was comatose, in intensive-care unit, we could have defeated them. Now it is no longer a possibility,” he added.
Claiming that Mamata’s leadership was unparalleled, Bhaumik compared her to Mahatma Gandhi, “as she is free of corruption. She is an exceptional crowd-puller. Her paribartan chant has been hijacked by the Congress in Tripura. But after we chose not to contest these polls, the winds of change have altered,” Bhaumik said.
Saying that the state unit of the Trinamul was “remote-controlled from Bengal”, the party leader said, “In 2010, Mukul Roy, Trinamul leader and then Union minister, had come to Agartala. The gathering here was not up to his expectations. That went against us.”
Speaking of the poll outcome this time round, Bhaumik said, “If there is no violence, anti-Left votes will be split.”