Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said during the election rally in Tripura that the time has come to overthrow the CPI(M) from Tripura, its last remaining bastion in the entire country, following the defeat in Kerala and West Bengal in 2011. It would mean that the Left would be booted out from Hindustan, something which Rahul Gandhi earnestly aspired.
The leader also carried out a routine attack on the state government, terming it as corrupt besides accusing the latter of failing to change with time. He said even communists in China questioned the credibility of their Indian counterparts.
Gandhi's words reflected the limitation that an outsider, who has no strong connection with the ground, would have. Routine allegations against the political opponent are just like building castles in the air and can never really deliver what's the doctor actually ordered and that is, an outright poll victory.
A completely misjudged statement
Rahul Gandhi said: "We have the understanding of uprooting the CPI-M from power and throwing them out. We have ousted them from Kerala and West Bengal..." This is an entirely erroneous observation on his behalf. The Congress never had the capacity to dislodge a powerful Left Front in West Bengal since 1977 when its own government was replaced by the Left till 2011 when Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) stormed its bastion.
Congress was just an appendage to the TMC
The Congress worked as an extension of the anti-Left alliance and took advantage of the strong anti-incumbency mood that was utilised by a force led by Banerjee. We saw the ruling alliance at the state was broken after the TMC pulled out from the UPA at the Centre. The Congress's pull-out at the state hardly made any difference for the TMC has an absolute majority of its own. The only message that went across was the Congress only knew to imitate the TMC, the party with the help of which it had come to power in Bengal.
In Tripura, Rahul Gandhi is expressing a strong desire but he has conveniently forgotten the basic aspect and that is, Tripura has no Mamata Banerjee to help his party's cause. The Congress had managed to win just 10 seats in Tripura in the last two elections. In West Bengal, it had won just 34 and 21 seats in the 2001 and 2006 elections that were comprehensively won by the Left. In 2011, its seats went up to 42 but that was more because of the Mamata factor.
Rahul Gandhi's migratory bird approach will hardly do the job for his party and Tripura is likely to see an extension of its two-decade old rule after this election. Whatever comments the Congress vice-president is making at the helm do not reflect the situation on the ground where the party is in a shambles.
Internal squabble has seriously hurt the party (last year, the son of President Pranab Mukherjee was allegedly assaulted by his own partymen) and it has sought alliance with local outfits like the NCT and INPT to hope for a turn of luck. Moreover, the TMC's decision of not participating in the polls has made the Congress's call for 'Paribartan' look more ridiculous.
Congress wanting the same Paribartan it is ruing in BengalThe Left Front is mocking the Congress of borrowing the slogan of the same Mamata with whom it has been at an unofficial war in recent times. In the absence of leaders like Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi who knew the politics of Tripura well or Pranab Mukherjee who was always a star campaigner in that part of the world, the Congress sent Bengal leaders like Deepa Dasmunshi and Manas Bhuyan to Tripura to campaign in favour of 'Paribartan' but the irony is that these same leaders have been disillusioned with Mamata's Paribartan in Bengal and are crying foul there!
Even using Mamata's posters/banners
The state TMC leaders have also been alleging that the Congress was using banners and posters of their party supremo but since the TMC have not fielded its own candidates in this year's poll, the issue has not been taken to the poll commission.
Last time, the Congress had raised the slogan "Aiya poritachhi" (We are almost there) but the final results showed it was the Left which was back to power.
Rahul Gandhi's superficial speeches won't help the party gain anything until its lower ranks are put in order, whether be it in Gujarat or Tripura. Till then, it will have to go on borrowing others' shoulders to rest its own head.
(With inputs from Anandabaazar Patrika)