Even as West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee called the possible alliance between the CPI(M) and Congress for the upcoming Assembly polls in the state as an "unprincipled" one, she did not hesitate to welcome former CPI(M) heavyweight leader in the state, Abdur Rezzaq Mollah in her party at the same time.
Mamata praised Mollah for his working for peasants' interests and taunted the his former party's leadership for calling him as a "chashar byata" (son of a farmer) at the time of his induction in the party last Friday (February 12) in Kolkata's Netaji Indoor Stadium. Mollah, on the other hand, said it was his decision and he will not explain it to anybody.
The leaders might have a friendly take but the reality is not so smooth
The two leaders might have a friendly take on the development, but the general mood in the lower rungs of the TMC is not happy. Many have questioned the credibility of Mollah who had called Mamata "Hitler in a Sari" among other attacks during his days in the CPI(M).
Mollah was expelled from the CPI(M) in 2014 on grounds of anti-party activities and his efforts in setting up a new Bharatiya Naybichar Party also went down the drain as he was expelled from that party last month for having links with Mamata's TMC. The man also faced considerable threat from the TMC in his own den after the Left's rout in 2011.
More than power, Mollah has joined TMC to secure his life
He suffered a terrible attack in the hands of TMC supporters three years ago, leaving him seriously injured. Mollah had then alleged that he was beaten up by former TMC MLA Arabul Islam. Hence, the latest move by Mollah to join the TMC is certainly aimed at immuning himself from the wrath of the cadre of the ruling party.
Rezzaq's presence will widen rift in TMC, helping the Opposition
Mollah, more than greed, has allied with the devil to save his own life but from Mamata's perspective, this might not be a very beneficial move. Some party loyalists feel Mollah's presence in the party could improve its Muslim vote-share (just like Siddiquallh Chowdhury, leader of the Jamiat Ulam-e-Hind) and also appeal more convincingly to the farmers' community since the latter is known for his contribution to the farmers' cause but those are more theoretical viewpoints.
TMC may aim to gain in other ways but Mollah's presence in the party will not impress grassroots workers
Political observers rather feel Mollah will be more handy for the TMC in manipulating election process, something for which he was often accused during his days in the Left (Mollah hasn't lost an Assembly election since 1977) but his co-existence with Islam in the Bhangar-Canning area would only unleash a blood game during the elections. For the Election Commission, this will be a potential threat to conducting peaceful polls in the state which is known for political violence. And none else but Mamata Banerjee will be accountable for the likely brutality.
Rift will widen in TMC, benefiting the Opposition
The TMC will also see rift inside it widening in the wake of the decision of inducting Mollah in the party, particularly if he is given the ticket from the same constituency in the upcoming polls. Local supporters of the party hate Mollah, thanks to his and his former party's ruthless domination over three decades, and now they see to their utter dismay that the top leadership is not hesitant to welcome theri tormentor. This will create serious problems for the party's grassroots organisation and the Opposition, particulary the Left, will reap a big benefit from this.
Principles in politics doesn't just apply to the hapless Opposition---the TMC supremo may find it out soon.