KOLKATA:The opposition parties, particularly the BJP and the Congress, in West Bengal feel that the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) is heading for a split, especially in the wake of Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee downsizing her party’s national secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy.
Many think that the rift between Mamata and Mukul has grown beyond the point of rapprochement.
Mamata apparently did not like Mukul praising the CBI investigation into the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam and not depicting the Central agency as a “tool in the hands of the BJP-led Government at the Centre”.
By sidelining Mukul, Mamata has also sent out a strong message to the leaders she elevated to various posts in the party.
Trying to replace Mukul with Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien or Lok Sabha MP Dinesh Trivedi would actually be a futile exercise, feel all political leaders in the state.
“The TMC is on the verge of a split. Mukul is the man who built the party from scratch. But now Mamata is trying to impose her nephew Abhishek Banerjee as the new national leader.
Quiz masters and fund raisers are good for the elite class, but they can never win the elections,” said state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury.
He said many TMC MLAs were in touch with the Congress. “We will not take them unless they resign from the state Assembly. That is why they are waiting for the 2016 polls,” he said.
BJP’s point man for West Bengal Siddharth Nath Singh also said several TMC MPs and MLAs, who were not involved in the Saradha scam, had contacted his party. “They are fed up with Mamata’s whims and ashamed of the Saradha scam. They are waiting for an opportune time. We too will wait till the TMC breaks down like a house of cards,” he said.
The opposition parties also feel that Monday’s results for the Bongaon Lok Sabha and Krishnagunj Assembly bypolls would be another indicator about the TMC’s fate.
In the event of a split, as the founder general secretary of the All India Trinamool Congress, Mukul would have claim over the party’s election symbol (of grass flowers). It was he who got the recognition from the Election Commission of India on December 17, 1997.
Mamata had joined the TMC after she was expelled from the Congress on December 24, 1997.
“Like Indira Gandhi could not get the original symbol when the Congress split in 1977, Mamata too has to apply for a new symbol in the event of a split. And that will certainly damage her party though in any case she is on her way out,” said legal expert Arunabha Ghosh.
If the TMC splits, which might not happen in the near future, Mamata as Chief Minister could exert her power and use the police and administration to win the 2016 polls.
On the other hand, Mukul is likely to form his own party “Jaago Bangla” or “Trinamool Democrats”. Mukul, who enjoys good relations with several BJP and TMC leaders, is keeping his cards close to his chest and meeting a large number of district leaders.