Rahul’s West Bengal dice; attacks both TMC and BJP

Rajat Kain

PM_mamataThere is something curious about the developing political equations in West Bengal. For the most part of last one year, All India Trinamool Congress, which rules the state, has taken on the Narendra Modi led-NDA government at the Centre. The former also stood by the agenda of BJP’s arch rival Congress on the floor of both the houses in the Parliament. On the other hand, BJP too never fell short of attacking Trinamool and especially its chieftain Mamata Banerjee, who also doubles up as the Chief Minister of West Bengal.

But the day CM Mamata Banerjee is visiting Bangladesh as a part of PM Modi’s delegation, she is attacked by the Vice President of the Congress party for he claims that West Bengal government has failed on all fronts.

“People thought that Trinamool Congress will come and take the state forward, but after it came to power (in 2011), it put the brakes on development…continuing the deadlock,” Rahul Gandhi said while visiting the state on Saturday afternoon. He met with the workers at Wellington Jute Mill in Hooghly district.

Rahul Gandhi, who is back as somewhat different, little more aggressive and bit witty post his 56-days leave of absence is out to revive the Congress. And West Bengal is one such state where the Congress party stares at a bleak future. Rahul was just seven years old, when West Bengal saw the Congress party’s CM for the last time. After that 1977 assembly polls, Left front had built over one stronghold to another in West Bengal. However, the Left front too crashed out, but only after 34 years in 2011 Assembly polls when it was trounced by the party of ex-Congress firebrand leader Mamata Banerjee.

As the state of West Bengal goes to assembly polls within one year time, the Congress leader, who may take over as a party chief soon, has attacked both the Left front and the ruling TMC, claiming that both have “failed the people of West Bengal”

“Only Congress can release the brakes and take the vehicle of development forward in Bengal,” he urged the workers and other listeners to bring Congress back to power in the state.

But for the Congress party, its weakness is chronic for it received another humbling defeat in recently held civic polls only securing as many votes to occupy 4th rank behind the TMC, Left and the BJP.

On his visit, Rahul Gandhi interacted with the host of jute mill workers and lent an ear to their problems concerning the wages, financial distress and the future after the mill shutdown. He was further urged by the local trade union owing allegiance to the Congress to take up the issue concerning the jute mill workers in the Parliament.

Later in the day, Rahul Gandhi visisted Kolkata and interacted with several home buyers to hear their concern on the Real Estate Bill. Interacting with the party workers at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, he once again took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This time he was critical of the government for not implementing One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for the defence personnel.

“Before elections Modi ji went to Haryana, Punjab saying when they will come to power, OROP will be done immediately. One year of Modi government, no One Rank One Pension yet…his focus is on yoga while people asking for employment,” Rahul Gandhi said.

The issue of OROP has been in contention as two highly decorated war veterans boycotted Defense Minister Parrikar’s function in Pune after being upset with the BJP-led Central government for not implementing the OROP scheme.