After mooting the idea of formation of a ‘Federal Front’ at the national level, Trinamool Congress expects positive response from political outfits which had rallied behind Mamata Banerjee when she blocked the UPA II’s several moves, like setting up of a National Counter Terrorism Centre, terming them as an attempt to infringe on the country’s federal structure.
TMC leaders say that though it is premature to say whether Federal Front will take a final shape or not because there are several “ifs and buts” pertaining to the issue, Mamata has floated the idea to spread her agitation beyond Bengal and to “know the pulse of anti-BJP, anti-Congress and anti-CPM parties”.
Addressing a rally at Jantar Mantar in Delhi against the Centre’s decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail trade, Mamata on Monday spoke about the formation of Federal Front at the national level to keep the country’s federal structure intact.
“Our party will hold discussions with the regional parties, both in power and in the opposition, in several states to materialise the concept of Federal Front. The outfits which are against the BJP, Congress and CPM will be consulted. For example, we can speak to Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, Biju Janata Dal leader Naveen Patnaik, AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa,” said party MP Sultan Ahmed, adding that the main objective of the Front will be to keep the “Congress, BJP and CPM at bay”. “The idea will, of course, not matarialise soon. Let all the like-minded parties come together to start a joint movement on common issues like attack on the country’s federal structure, communalism,” he said.
When asked why the TMC expects the JD(U) to severe ties with the BJP-led NDA, Ahmed replied: “They may be in the NDA but they have an independent identity and this is why there is a possibility of a split in the NDA.”
Anticipating a snap-poll, Mamata plans to visit some states to pave the way for a joint movement. To spread the agitation against FDI, she will visit Haryana and UP on November 2 and 17 respectively. The TMC will stage a 48-hour dharna on the issue in Delhi, and may also speak to YSR Congress party chief Jaganmohan Reddy, sources said.
Party MP Saugata Roy said: “The Federal Front is an idea. It will take time to give it a shape. The outfits that had supported us in protecting the federal structure may come in the Front.”
Another TMC MP, who did not want to be named, said, Mamata’s wish to float Federal Front is a “good gesture” for the regional parties which are looking for a “reliable leader” to lead them in the battle for protecting the federal structure of the country. “But there are some problems. In UP, we can get Mulayam Singh Yadav as he does not need the Congress or BJP. He defeated both in the recent Assembly polls. But having Nitish in the Front seems difficult. If he joins the Front, he will have to snap ties with the NDA and fight against the BJP in Bihar. In Orissa, the BJD is in alliance with the CPI and CPM. Naveen has to severe ties with the Left if he decides to join Mamata’s Front. For parties like NCP and DMK, it doesn’t seem possible unless something dramatic happens,” he added.
As Trinamool exits rail ministry, didi’s intellectuals leave committee
Kolkata: With Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress out of the Railway Ministry, two of her close aides — Shaoli Mitra and Arpita Ghosh — have left the membership of the Railways’ Committee on Culture and Heritage. In 2009, after Banerjee became the rail minister in the UPA II government, she formed several committees in the Railways. She invited a dozen of intellectuals from Bengal and offered them memberships in the committees. After the Trinamool withdrew its support from the Central government and left the Rail Ministry, the intellectuals who are there in the committees have become apprehensive about the existence of these committees. Eminent theatre personalities Mitra and Ghosh have already forwarded an official letter to the rail board stating they are resigning from the posts.
Mamata no doubt has support in West Bengal and found an anti Left front very successful. But to be a national leader which she aims to become, she has to evolve a credible policy rather than merely an anti Congress party. It is easy to incite a crowd with exciting slogans but what she totally lacks is any qualities of leadership to govern. TMC is a one-woman party built on negativism. As a Rail Minister she was a total failure and did not allow her own Minister to do a good job and had him sacked! For her, aam admi is only her Bengali supporters. She has done nothing of note since she took over as CM of West Bengal. The parties she is trying to woo may use her to improve their own image as an anti Govt party but will not necessarily support her as a leader of the Third Front. She has committed hara kiri by deserting the UPA!
Indian political parties have this habit of swimming with the tide. JP movement was exceptional-the circumstances leading to the formation of the first NDA government were different. Politics and political scenario keeps on changing-every politician worth his name, wants to be a kingmaker. In politics, as someone remarked, there are no permanent friends or foes. With Advani harping on secularism, it will not be surprising if the BJP and Congress join hands to keep the regional satraps out. A strong centre is the need of the hour and the socalled third front or federal front will not be in a position to shoulder this responsibility.