Mamata’ national goals face setback

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Mamata called for an opposition coalition without the Congress. “Nothing will work if we depend on the Congress,” she added….reports Asian Lite News

With Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sweeping the Punjab election, making its presence felt in Goa and positioning itself as a formidable opposition to the BJP in national politics, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjees national ambitions seem to have hit a roadblock after the Trinamool Congress (TMC) dismal performance in the coastal state.

Mamata Banerjee does not have “national aspirations” and only wants to bring like-minded parties together to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, TMC leaders said, after the party’s high-profile campaign in the Goa assembly polls failed to make any impression.

The Chief Minister said after the results that the Trinamool Congress had just entered Goa three months before and the attempt was to make the name Trinamool known to the people of the state. The party will work hard in the future as the groundwork has just begun in Goa and the name of the party is now known in every household.

Trinamool leaders said on Saturday that the party has just started its Goa venture a few months back. “We have received 24 per cent in Tripura civic body polls while in Goa it was an attempt to make our symbol known in the last three months.” Trinamool Congress state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.

However, this didn’t stop Mamata from taking aim at the Congress. On Friday, she called for an opposition coalition without the Congress. “Nothing will work if we depend on the Congress. They are losing their capability. All the regional parties now have to come together and work,” she said while addressing a press conference in the West Bengal Vidhan Sabha.

Speaking about the Congress, West Bengal minister and senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim told reporters on Thursday that “the Congress is a grand old party but it’s failing to strike. It should merge with the TMC”.

After the AAP’s overwhelming victory in Punjab its convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal declared his national ambitions at a victory rally in Delhi. “Inquilab (revolution) came to Delhi first and then happened in Punjab. This revolution will spread across the country,” Kejriwal said on Thursday.

The AAP’s landslide victory in Punjab in its second outing in the state has given a push to the party leaders’ hopes of emerging as a national alternative to the ruling BJP and replacing the Congress as the principal opposition party. The AAP leaders have said the people of Punjab have given a chance to the “Kejriwal model of governance” and that the Delhi Chief Minister “will be the principal challenger of the BJP” in the future.

The AAP swept the Punjab polls by getting a three-fourths majority in the 117-member Assembly, pushing most of its rivals to the margins. The party had finished second behind the Congress in the 2017 elections in the state.

Established in November 2012, the AAP has been seeking to expand its footprint beyond Delhi and contested polls in Goa, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh in this round of state elections. It has won two seats in Goa getting 6.77 per cent of the votes. The party has now set its sights on the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh later this year.

“Mamata Banerjee single handedly defeated the BJP in the assembly polls and that created an impression that her fight against the BJP might make her the face of the opposition. With the Congress becoming more and more insignificant in national politics Mamata carried on with her ambitious national plan by launching the party in some major states like Tripura, Goa and Assam. The Trinamool Congress would have been more politically relevant if the party could have made some mark in the elections. The Trinamool Congress neither did well in Tripura nor in Goa and this has certainly created a question mark on her national leadership. It would be interesting to see how she comes out of regional attire and becomes relevant in national politics,” a senior political scientist said.

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