No roadmap for 2024 polls in Mamata Banerjee’s Martyr’s Day speech
Kolkata, July 21 (IANS): Expectations were high that Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will draw the party’s roadmap for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls during her address at her party’s Martyrs’ Day programme on Thursday. But, to the dissatisfaction of the huge gathering there, the chief minister restricted her speech to some regular anti-BJP notes and her usual attacks on the Union government on the central probe agencies’ issue.
Claiming that the 2024 Lok Sabha polls would be for the rejection of the BJP, she predicted that the saffron camp will not be able to gain a simple majority in 2024. “And once the BJP fails to gain a simple majority in the polls, the opposition parties will automatically unite and come on the same platform,” she said.
However, throughout her half-an-hour speech, she did not make a single reference about any initiative on her part to unite the anti-BJP forces. She also did not make any reference to the possible alliances of the Trinamool Congress in states other than West Bengal.
“Our target is to win in all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal. At the same time our target is to win in the seats that we will be contesting in other states like Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Goa,” the chief minister said.
Although there were expectations that some political heavyweights from other parties might join the Trinamool Congress at the Martyrs’ Day dais on Thursday, nothing of that sort happened. Incidentally, the joining of leaders from other parties became a regular feature of the Martyrs’ Day programme since the Trinamool Congress grabbed power in West Bengal in 2011 ending the 34-year-long Left Front rule. However, Thursday’s event was an exception on that count.
Banerjee launched a scathing attack on the BJP over the use of central probe agencies against her party leaders. “We have our spinal cords strong enough to resist the bulldozing of the Union government through the central agencies. But BJP has a weak spine and they are trying to balance by having the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate on one side and the income tax department on the other side,” the chief minister said.
She also attacked the previous Left Front government for corruption in the teachers recruitment. “During the Left Front regime, a teacher’s job was auctioned at a price of Rs 10 lakhs to 12 lakhs. The wives of all the journalists working in the CPI(M) party organ were appointed as teachers. I do not believe in political vendetta and hence I remained silent on these issues.”