KOLKATA: Targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Trinamool Congress has sounded the bypoll bugle, raking the issue of direct transfer of centrally-funded MGNREGA amounts into the accounts the beneficiaries. It has termed the move as ‘interference into the federal structure’.
With a weakening left and a rising right, the seventh national party Trinamool Congress aims to use this issue in the two Lok Sabha constituencies of Cooch Behar and Tamluk. The party will undertake rallies in the two Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha constituency Manteswar from November 3-11. The polls to the three constituencies are slated on November 19.
Though Bharatiya Janata Party may not give a tough fight to the ruling Trinamool in south Bengal’s Tamluk and central Bengal’s Manteswar, it may be a force to recon with the northern district of Cooch Behar. The issue of communal violence that rocked four urban towns of the state has started to be used as a political weapon by both the Trinamool and the BJP with both parties indirectly and directly blaming the other.
Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee had warned the BJP against playing ‘communal politics’ in the state. “Starting an issue is easy but controlling it is difficult,” she said. The BJP has always accused the Trinamool Congress government of minority appeasement.
Each of the three constituencies going to vote have a percentage of Muslims from 24% in Cooch Behar, some 30% in Tamluk to around 40% in Manteswar. The different religious communities have till date irrespective of religion fought in elections coming under the banner of either CPM or TMC, depending on their loyalties.
However, with the saffron party gaining strength, local points of tension may be raked for polarisation is what is feared by many TMC loyalists. “In Tamluk, the joining of Haldia strongman Lakshman Seth by merger of his Bharatiya Nirman Party into BJP, his influence may be extended to the coastal industrial belt but the northern part of the constituency will vote en masse to the TMC candidate,” a Trinamool district-level functionary told Express.
It has been speculated that actress-turned-politician Locket Chatterjee may be announced as the BJP candidate for Tamluk seat. Both the parties have not yet announced candidates for the Lok Sabha seats.