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Home » India » Is This Mamata Di’s Gameplan? Target 50 Lok Sabha Seats, Be The New Congress Party


Is This Mamata Di’s Gameplan? Target 50 Lok Sabha Seats, Be The New Congress Party

Mamata’s real game-changing move could effectively come from the southern parts of the country.

Mamata Banerjee

The Royal Bengal Tigress is roaring! And how.

The big discussion in living rooms across Delhi and Mumbai is this: What can Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee really do beyond West Bengal?

First, let’s look at Mamata Banerjee’s past.

From throwing papers at the Lok Sabha Speaker’s chair – when she was a one-member party in Parliament in 2005 – to throwing TATA Nano factory out of the state as the face of Singur agitation and then making it three times in a row to the Chief Minister’s post in West Bengal, Mamata Di has come a long way. And she has successfully warded off a strong BJP challenge in her state so far. But can she emulate this success across the country?

Now, let’s look at Mamata’s story through the prism of metric of states.

West Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats. Mamata has in the last three Lok Sabha elections managed 19, 34 and 22 of those seats, respectively. In 2014, when the Modi wave was sweeping large parts of North India, Mamata was literally the last (wo)man standing. However, in 2019, as the Modi wave got stronger, she ended up ceding some ground. With a renewed Assembly mandate earlier this year, she needs to better her performance of 2014 first to make herself a strong national contender.

ALSO READ: Mamata Demands Thorough Investigation Into Nagaland Firing Incident

Uttar Pradesh with 81 Lok Sabha seats is the real Achilles heel for anti-BJP parties. Didi has already declared that she will throw in her might behind Akhilesh Yadav in the upcoming Assembly elections.

But the problem is that Akhilesh himself isn’t really in control at the Lok Sabha level. A stronger performance with a 25% plus vote share in the forthcoming Assembly polls will position Akhilesh as a key contender in Didi’s umbrella. But there is no inkling yet that at a Lok Sabha level, anything is going to change dramatically for BJP.

Bear in mind, in 2014, when the BJP made mincemeat out of the Opposition, just two years earlier in 2012 Akhilesh Yadav had led the Samajwadi Party to a full majority government in Uttar Pradesh for the first time in the party’s history. In 2007, Mayawati had led the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to a full majority government in the state only to cede space to the ruling Congress at the Centre in 2009.

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Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are all critical states with a total of 65 Lok Sabha seats between them. All states went to the Congress in the 2018 Assembly polls. But the Jyotiraditya Scindia-led revolt brought back BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chauhan as the Chief Minister in MP where he had earlier narrowly lost to Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan has constantly been challenged by Sachin Pilot.

Mamata Di has a chance here only if bigger leaders from the Congress and BJP come together as a separate alliance grouping backed by her. From Amit Jogi in Chhattisgarh to a range of entrenched but dissatisfied leaders across Congress and BJP, Mamata can look to make a mark only through this move.

ALSO SEE: As TMC Tears Into Congress, Opposition In Flux And BJP Sees Advantage

But her real game-changing move could effectively come from the southern parts of the country. It’s in this territory where the match is not against the BJP, barring Karnataka.

Mamata has a well wisher in the form of Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao. Smarting from the exit of Etala Rajender, KCR is clearly repositioning himself to be a part of anti-BJP club. With a dwindling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, DMK boss MK Stalin could end up being on the same side as Mamata. Incidentally, Prashant Kishor has managed campaigns for both DMK and Trinamool Congress.

What she is doing at this stage perhaps is a mere precursor to what she may want to achieve. Which is to target 50 Lok Sabha seats of her own. At 50 seats minimum from her own shelf, Mamata will be the new Congress party.

And with the right set of friends, she would be best positioned to at least mount a challenge. If not, it may well end up being a one-way street yet again for Modi 3.0.

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