This election year, Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal looks peaceful and the credit goes to Congress and Left, her opponents. To defeat the Trinamool Congress (TMC) which looks strong opposition this year’s election. These two Opposition parties struggle in reaching a consensus on an alliance with each other.
Banerjee will be happy as the alliance between her two opponents at both local and federal levels will erode credibility of their respective leadership. However, in handling the issue, Congress will face more challenges than CPI (M). In Kerala, words by its vice-president Rahul Gandhi, recently makes that evident.
In Kerala, while speaking on that state’s election issues, Rahul was seen walking on a tightrope. Besides backing the Congress as the only alternative to itself, he also took on the BJP, the common enemy that can be targeted easily. His take on the Left was not satisfactory enough for the state’s Congress leaders.
In Bengal, under pressure of the party leaders Congress high command will perhaps give up, who have shown a rare unity in support of the alliance with the CPI (M).
“Lok Sabha 2019 is a far bigger cause for the Gandhi’s than a state it has long lost”
In 2019, the Lok Sabha election for the top leadership of the Congress is a much bigger cause to fight for than the Assembly election in Bengal, a state where the party has long been reduced into a fringe player.
Independently, Congress has virtually no face to lead its campaign and needs a support to do well in Bengal (in 2001 and 2011, it was the Trinamool Congress) .Congress in Bengal is a name of a number of disjointed groups that looks after their own pockets of supremacy. In Bengal 2011 the Congress had come to power with the TMC but it was more of a Mamata show.
Mamata’s help needed if Congress harbors any hope of returning to power in 2019
At the national level, to focus on reviving the party from a state looks like a meaningless exercise for the Gandhis as they themselves have a much difficult task in hand.
In the last Lok Sabha election, it reduced to just 44 MPs and losing in one state after another, in the next general elections, Congress central leadership has a serious stake. It could be rendered irrelevant nationally, only after one big loss.
In Bengal, An alliance with the CPI(M) will not make the Congress’s base any stronger, so that it can make a bigger impact in the Lok Sabha polls in that state on its own.
Congress high command will never like to put its relation in jeopardy with Mamata by forging an alliance with the Left for Bengal sends 42 MPs to the Lok Sabha and Mamata’s force is still there claim on those biggest numbers. If there is an opportunity, TMC’s support will be needed the most by the Congress in order to dethrone Modi.
In Kerala, Congress is anyway a strong force which though sends 22 MPs less than Bengal
Kerala had send 20 MPS in the Lok Sabha and Congress is still being stronger player.In Kerala,currently 8 MPs are from Congress (12 in all from the UPA). On the MP count, In Bengal an alliance with the CPI(M) also can have an adverse impact on the psyche of the Kerala Congress. Congress will stand to lose from both the states nationally in that case.
“Bengal Congress is just living another day, but the Gandhis have their pride at stake”
Congress is just fighting to live another day in Bengal and Formation of an alliance the state leadership’s demand is just part of a desperate attempt to remain relevant. The battle involves a much larger question of redeeming the lost pride for Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. To derail the high command’s long-term objective a short-sighted alliance with the CPI (M) will have all the potential.