Mamata Banerjee after felicitating singer Sandhya Mukhopadhyay (right) at an event to release the festive issue of Trinamul
mouthpiece Jago Bangla at Uttam Mancha. Singer Dwijen Mukhopadhyay was also
felicitated. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
Mamata Banerjee wants a People’s Federal Alliance to take on the might of the Big Twos of Indian politics — the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
The Trinamul Congress chief has already called for a grand alliance against the Congress at the Centre, and is working to get on board like-minded regional parties as the race to head the next government at the Centre hots up, our special correspondent reports
Not Front but Alliance
“Mamatadi is not interested in calling the alliance third front for two reasons. First, by calling it third, she makes the alliance a loser. Second, the front has become synonymous with the Left Front in Bengal,” a Trinamul leader said
Why the need for an alliance?
After coming out of UPA II, Mamata has repeatedly accused the Centre of working against the interests of the state governments, especially Bengal, and heaped criticism on the Congress for failing to control prices and pushing hard the agenda of economic reforms.
“Mamatadi wants the regional parties to have a greater say at the Centre, keeping the federal structure in mind,” a senior Trinamul leader said
Will Mamata’s alliance be in place before the Lok Sabha polls?
Trinamul insiders said the possibilities of a post-poll alliance were strong.
“Mamatadi thinks that the regional parties will do well in their respective states and can then come together to form a partnership at the Centre to decide who gets to run the government,” a senior Trinamul leader said.
Trinamul insiders said the party had started holding talks with prospective partners who are yet to switch to either the BJP or Congress camps and are keeping their options open.
Trinamul sources said they were looking at four possible scenarios after the Lok Sabha results are declared and were trying to figure out where Trinamul and the alliance proposed by Mamata would fit in
The BJP bags 180-190 seats and reaches the magic figure with the NDA partners
Trinamul role: Party MPs most likely to sit in the Opposition
The BJP finishes between 160 and 170. Trinamul leaders feel the BJP might have to change its plans to go ahead with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister and look for a consensus candidate to get some other parties to support the government
Trinamul role: Trinamul unlikely to be a part of such an alliance
The Congress manages to reach 150 and can cobble up a majority with the help of its partners in UPA II. Trinamul insiders said the Assembly polls scheduled in five states in late November and early December would be crucial to the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls in 2014
Trinamul role: If the Congress is in a comfortable position, Trinamul will wait to see how the Congress goes about picking its allies
The BJP and the Congress taken together get less than 170 seats
Trinamul role: Party leaders said such a scenario would be ideal for Mamata to play the role of king-maker, taking the lead with other regional parties. The party will have two options to consider:
A) If the BJP approaches the alliance, sources said, Trinamul’s possibility of extending support appears bleak considering the strong minority support for Mamata. “The alliance with the BJP took us nowhere in Bengal in the past,” a source said
B) If the Congress approaches the alliance, Trinamul sources said there was a strong possibility of a tie-up and Trinamul supporting the Congress.