The Trinamool Congress is confident that post May 16, the day of counting of votes, regional and secular forces will come together and form a federal front, which will run the country for a long time, says party general secretary Mukul Roy. He dismisses any discomfort for the party at going it alone, saying that it is competent to do so and without its support, the Congress is going to draw a blank in West Bengal.
Speaking to The Hindu at the party headquarters amid hectic political activity, Mr. Roy explains the reasons for his confidence on how this elections may change the picture at the Centre.
“The Congress will not even make it to three digits and the National Democratic Alliance, led by the BJP, will not get absolute majority. I strongly believe that the Trinamool will be the third or fourth largest party in the country after the elections,” he says.
This elections will present the “most fractured mandate.” The aim of the Trinamool is to make a pan-Indian presence. With this objective, it has fielded candidates all over India. It has fielded 100 candidates in 14 States, is in power in West Bengal and has representation in the Assemblies of Manipur, Arunanchal Pradesh, Assam and Uttar Pradesh, he notes.
Accusing the United Progressive Alliance government of making “desperate attempts to destroy federalism,” a fundamental structure of the Constitution, he observes, “In a federal structure, the Centre cannot be strong unless the States are empowered. We believe that after this election, there is a possibility of constituting the federal front and forming the government at Centre.”
Asked if going it alone in the polls will hamper the prospects of the ruling party, he states the question of being “uncomfortable” does not arise.
“The results of the recent panchayat and civic elections have proved and established that the Trinamool Congress is competent to go it alone in the polls and the party should not worry about the support of any others,” he says.
Explaining how the Trinamool over the past three years has increased its support base in West Bengal, Mr. Roy refers to the 2009 Lok Sabha and 2011 Assembly elections when the party had an electoral understanding with the Congress.
“During these two polls, the Trinamool and the Congress together got about 44 per cent of the votes. Now if we consider that the Congress has 10 percent of the votes, the Trinamool got about 34 per cent of the votes,” he says.
Taking the vote-share analysis further, he points out that in the recently concluded panchayat polls, where about 80 per cent of the State’s electorate participated, the Trinamool got about 41 per cent to 43 per cent of the votes.
Mr. Roy, on the other hand, claims that without the support of the Trinamool , the Congress may not get a single seat in West Bengal.
He also rules out any post-poll understanding with the BJP, stating that his leader Mamata Banerjee has clearly said that it did not want the “face of riots.”
“My leader has said that people in the country are not ready to see power in the hands of communal forces,” he says. Neither the BJP’s majoritarianism nor its affinity with top corporates is in consonance with the Trinamool Congress.
“Ours is a pro-people party and is against foreign direct investment in retail trade and feels that prices of petroleum products should be controlled by the government,” he asserts.
Mr. Roy is confident that the Trinamool will get the dividend of establishing peace within the strife-torn Jangalmahal region and in the Darjeeling Hills. “The manner in which Mamata Banerjee has tackled the issue of Jangalmahal and Darjeeling has been appreciated by people.”
While there was a spate of killing in Jangalmahal in the previous Left Front government, there was no killing by ultra left wing extremists during the Trinamool rule, he states.
Some Trinamool government schemes such as Kanyashree have become a model for other States, he notes.