regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 November 2023

Trinamul Congress ends two day Delhi protest focusing on rural outreach, while BJP focuses on Calcutta and Delhi to counter

Divergence in approaches of two parties, captured differences in organisational strengths of both

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 04.10.23, 05:40 AM
Abhishek Banerjee with Trinamul leaders during the protest against the Centre’s denial of MGNREGS funds to the Bengal government at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday

Abhishek Banerjee with Trinamul leaders during the protest against the Centre’s denial of MGNREGS funds to the Bengal government at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday PTI picture

Trinamul disseminated its two-day protest in Delhi that ended on Tuesday against the Narendra Modi government over "Bengal's deprivation" of central funds to each corner of the state through several activities right up to the panchayat level.

The BJP, in turn, focused on Calcutta and Delhi to counter Mamata Banerjee's party with charges of corruption against it.


The divergence in the approaches of the two parties, a political observer said, captured the differences in the organisational strengths of both.

On Tuesday, the Trinamul leadership installed giant screens or television sets at each of the odd 3300-gram panchayats to beam the developments at Jantar Mantar live across villages in Bengal.

"Our programme was not only successful in Delhi but we could embarrass the BJP by reaching out to the rural populace at every gram panchayat with our protest activities.... It was our target to disseminate our narrative of Bengal's deprivation by the BJP-led Centre across the state and we will continue it till the Lok Sabha polls next year," said a senior Trinamul leader.

Trinamul leaders also observed Gandhi Jayanti on Monday evening at every gram panchayat involving 30 to 500 MGNREGS workers of the concerned area.

A fortnight ago, Trinamul instructed its party chiefs of rural bodies and blocks across Bengal to ensure live beaming of the October 3 protest at Jantar Mantar.

Trinamul had taken 2,500 job cardholders under MGNREGS from Bengal to take part in Tuesday's protest. Over 3,000 Bengal migrant workers, mostly those who migrated to the national capital region (NCR) since the Narendra Modi government froze funds under the MGNREGS 100-day work, also took part.

Trinamul also took the initiative to attack the BJP on social media to highlight how Bengal's people have been suffering because of the central funds freeze for nearly two years.

Unlike Trinamul, the BJP was not visible on the ground, admitted a BJP source. Instead, the BJP leaders, both from the state and the Centre, were seen in the national capital on Tuesday. On Monday, BJP MLA and leader of the Opposition in Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari led a protest outside the Assembly.

Adhikari on Tuesday flew to Delhi to counter Trinamul with a news meet. Adhikari also met junior Union rural development minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti for two hours before the Trinamul delegation met her at Krishi Bhavan.

"Trinamul has been staging a fabricated drama in Delhi for two days in the name of protest. There is no impact of Trinamul's protest, neither in Bengal nor in Delhi. We have come here to tell the truth (behind Trinamul's allegations)," Adhikari told reporters in New Delhi and demanded a CBI probe into the alleged swindling of central funds in Bengal.

Accusing thousands of village heads affiliated to Trinamul and a section of state government officials of defalcating thousands of crores under the MGNREGS, Adhikari said: "It is a big scam. It will turn out to be the biggest scam after Independence."

Adhikari's diatribe came a day after the BJP had fielded Bengal unit chief Sukanta Majumdar and Union ministers Anurag Thakur and Giriraj Singh to take on Trinamul.

Like Adhikari, Union information and broadcasting minister Thakur said on Monday: "There has been scam after scam in West Bengal under Mamata Banerjee government.... Why did your (Mamata) hands shake in taking action against the corrupt..."

While the BJP leadership was confident that its counter-narrative yielded results, some sources in the party said that lack of visibility on its stand on the ground might not just hurt the party in Bengal but expose its organisational lacunae in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

"We did not take the Trinamul's two-day Delhi protest that seriously... It would have been better if we had drawn up a plan to organise small rallies and protests in every district. It was not possible because the plan to counter Trinamul's narrative was taken pretty late into the day. At a time Trinamul could reach out with its protest in remote corners of Bengal, our leaders concentrated in Delhi and Calcutta only," said a BJP leader.

However, the BJP's chief spokesperson in Bengal, Samik Bhattacharya, was both defiant and scathing.

"We were not even supposed to counter Trinamul or its narrative of deprivation at all. We believe the people of Bengal are already convinced by Trinamul's policy of thorough corruption and loot in different sectors," said Bhattacharya.

Follow us on: