West Bengal which was ruled by the Left Front for 35 years and subsequently by TMC for 12 years and running, today saw its three main political opponents — the ruling Trinamool Congress, the CPI(M), and the Congress form a troika but conditions apply.
So, in Patna, when the coalescing Opposition decided to project a United Front against the BJP-led NDA government ahead of Parliamentary polls in 2024, in West Bengal TMC will oppose CPI(M) and Congress or vice versa tooth and nail, and outside they will be seen together.
It’s definitely a breakthrough because such a united front had been discussed earlier, for instance before the general elections of 2019, but remained elusive. West Bengal chief
minister, Mamata Banerjee, who had previously voiced support for such a united front attended today’s meeting and expressed satisfaction with the turn of events. Listing the three important takeaways from the meeting at a joint press conference after the meeting, Banerjee said, “First, we are together. Second, we will put up a united fight against the BJP. Third, we will delineate the details further in another meeting (around July 10).”
Interestingly, “being together” at the national level could pose difficulties for all the parties’ respective colleagues at the state level.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Mallikarjun Kharge also attended the meeting and joined hands with Didi, who then acknowledged and named CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury. Interestingly, this time around Didi does not expect a favour from Yechury like in the past when during a public meeting she turned to Yechury and sounded him out about a possible political alliance with a cryptic, “Ki korchhen?” It was a loaded couple of words, packed with the political message: “What are
you doing? Why are we not joining forces?” Yechury had reciprocated with a smile but the matter had ended there.
In an interview with this correspondent after the breakthrough conference today, veteran CPIM leader, Sujan Chakraborty said, “There is going to be no change in the CPIM’s position as far as the Trinamool is concerned in the state. Why should there be? CPI()M is a national party that is taking on the BJP at the national level. The main objective is to topple the BJP government and different political parties have joined hands to do that. Trinamool is just one of those parties. That is all. And that too at the national level. It changes nothing in West Bengal.”
Trinamool’s state agenda, however, has seen changes over the past decade and it no longer considers the Left (read CPIM) as its main political rival. Whether in the state or at the centre, for TMC, BJP is the rival. And Mamata will join hands with anyone who wants to drive them out. Even if they are the Left.