Why recent Trinamool members are unlikely to bring any joy to the party
The defection of former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma, along with eleven other state congressional lawmakers, from Congress to Trinamool on Wednesday night, is being touted as a coup executed by Mamata Banerjee.
Sangma’s entry into Trinamool has been under consideration for a few months and he is in talks with senior Trinamool leaders as well as with the political strategist hired by Mamata Banerjee, Prashant Kishor, to negotiate his entry.
Sangma is unhappy with top Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi and her son. The appointment of his political rival, Shillong Lok Sabha MP Vincent Pala, as chairman of the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee a few months ago angered Sangma and since then he has been considering leaving Congress. Sangma wanted to start his own regional party, but was eventually persuaded by Kishor and other Trinamool leaders like Derek O’Brien and former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro (who also left Congress and joined Trinamool recently ) to join Mamata Banerjee’s party.
Either way, the Trinamool seems to have little to celebrate with Sangma’s induction into the party. This is because defections, even on a large scale, from party to party are endemic in the North East and there have been numerous cases of defection of all MPs from one party. en masse to another party.
Sangma left Congress because he was dissatisfied with the appointment of Pala, which he saw as a maneuver by the party’s “high command” to sideline him. It will not be at all surprising if the central party leadership courted him by offering him a leadership position.
Moreover, Mamata Banerjee is hardly an inspiring leader and has no connection with the Northeast State. She is widely regarded as a populace animator and does not arouse any admiration among the westernized people of the region.
And the Trinamool Congress itself has no appeal and is only a practical platform for dissidents and others (including elected politicians) to pursue their political careers.
Trinamool would do well to remember that Mamata Banerjee campaigned vigorously in Manipur ahead of the 2012 legislative elections in that state and that party candidates won seven seats. But the seven MPs subsequently defected in favor of other parties.
The Trinamool could never enter Manipur again. Trinamool’s victory in Manipur in 2012 follows Mamata Banerjee who defeated the left and became Chief Minister of Bengal in 2011. After her party won seven seats in Manipur, she proudly declared that Trinamool is on the verge of becoming a national party and establishing its presence in the other northeastern states as well. Nothing like that happened.
History will in all likelihood repeat itself and even if Trinamool under Sangma’s leadership wins a significant number of seats in Meghalaya in the legislative elections scheduled for 2023, there is no guarantee that Sangma and company will not desert Trinamool for join another party. or even float their own group at their convenience.
After the elections in Bengal, a few others from Assam, Tripura, Bihar, Goa and even Haryana joined Trinamool. Their entries were presented by the Trinamool as proof of the growing acceptance of Mamata Banerjee beyond the borders of Bengal. But even a cursory analysis will reveal that only a few unimportant people from other parties have joined Trinamool. None of them are prominent leaders, and most have won no elections in their political careers.
TMC’s biggest take in Tripura was Subal Bhowmick who had traveled from Congress in Trinamool to BJP and even became a brahmachari before returning to Congress and then moving to Trinamool a few months ago. Bhowmick has repeatedly failed to win the election.
Trinamool inducted Sushmita Dev, daughter of Congress heavyweight Santosh Mohan Dev, of Barak Valley in Assam. Congress is an exhausted force in Assam and has been sidelined by the BJP in the Barak Valley; Sushmita’s electoral prospects in her home country are dismal.
She has lost the last two elections in which she participated and her chances of winning an election in the near future in the Barak Valley are low. It is therefore good for her that she was deployed in the neighboring Tripura where her chances of winning a civic election are better than the Barak valley which was her father’s stronghold.
The only “big” catch was former Goan chief minister Luizinho Faleiro. But the septuagenarian Faleiro is an exhausted force in Goa and even his own party (Congress) was planning to replace him as the candidate for the Navelim Assembly constituency, a seat that Faleiro has won seven times, due to a strong opposition to power against him. .
Earlier this week, Mamata Banerjee inducted sacked Janata Dal (United) spokesperson Pavan Varma and former Congress leaders Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar into Trinamool. Varma, a former diplomat, is a political lightweight who has never participated in an election. He was kicked out of JD (U) along with Prashant Kishor, a political strategist hired by Mamata Banerjee.
Kirti Azad, a cricketer, is the son of former Chief Minister of Bihar Bhagwat Jha Azad and won the Darbhanga Lok Sabha seat as a BJP candidate in 2009 and 2014. He was suspended from the party in 2015 for targeting Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged irregularities within the Delhi Cricket Association. He joined Congress and was presented by that party from Dhanbad Lok Sabha’s seat in the 2019 election, but was defeated by BJP’s Pashupati Nath Singh by a margin of over 4.86 lakh votes.
Ashok Tanwar was a rising star of Congress and a close aide to Rahul Gandhi before he fell out with the leadership of Congress in his home state of Haryana and was expelled from the party. He won Sirsa Lok Sabha’s seat as a Congressional candidate in 2009, but lost in 2014. After that, his political career went nowhere and he lost all relevance.
The enthronement of these three people will do little to help the Trinamool Congress to establish a political presence in Bihar or Haryana. The trio’s entry into Trinamool has hardly found even a fleeting mention in the newspapers, portals or Hindi TV channels of their home country.
The entry of unimportant third-tier leaders or disgruntled officials from other parties will do little to help Trinamool gain a foothold in other states and become a national party.
For that to happen, he must have an ideology (sops and doles do not replace ideology) that people are drawn to, and a concrete vision for the country.