Seeking to play an important role in national politics ahead of parliamentary election, the Trinamool Congress is eyeing a 2012 repeat performance in Manipur to emerge as the main opposition party there after the assembly polls.
The TMC is contesting in 24 seats in the 60-member assembly the election to which is scheduled to be held on March 4 and March 8. The results will be announced on March 11.
In the 2012 assembly poll, the TMC had bagged seven seats, but later all of its MLAs switched sides joining either the Congress or the BJP.
The TMC, which holds power in Bengal and a major force in Parliament with 34 MLAs in the Lok Sabha, had been working hard for the last two years with a new team of leaders in Manipur hoping to play a big role in case of a hung assembly.
"We are in a very good position to win at least 7-8 seats in Manipur. Our understanding and the ground report says that it will be a hung assembly as neither the Congress nor the BJP will be able to gain a majority," TMC vice-president Mukul Roy said.
According to the party leadership, Manipur is very important to them in order to emerge as a potent force in the east and the Northeast.
"In Tripura, the TMC is the main opposition party and in Manipur if we attain the same status as the last time, it will strengthen our party," a senior TMC leader said.
"Keeping 2019 Lok Sabha election in view, if we are able to win four/five seats in the Northeast, then that will be a big boost for our party," he observed.
Though it won seven seats in the 2012 Assembly election in Manipur and emerged as the second largest party, subsequently it failed to keep its flock together.
While a by-election, necessitated by the death of a TMC member, was won by the Congress, two other Trinamul MLAs – Thongam Biswajit Singh and Khundrakpam Joykishan Singh – were disqualified under the Tenth Schedule.