Eyeing Bengali-majority Tripura, Mamata puts Congress deserter in charge, looks to poach many

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Source: New Indian Express

KOLKATA: After starting her second innings as the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee is now eyeing Tripura where the CPM-led Left Front has been in power for more than two decades.
The TMC has a presence in Manipur and Assam as well, but Mamata first wants to target Tripura where the majority of voters are Bengalis. The Trinamool chief will address a public meeting at Agartala’s Stable Ground on August 9.
Former Leader of the Opposition in the Tripura Assembly Sudip Roy Barman, who along with many other Congress MLAs had left the party after the Congress-Left poll tie-up in West Bengal, is now the TMC’s main face in the state. “Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar too opposed the alliance within the CPM, but he did not have the guts to resign,” Barman claimed.
During Mamata’s meeting, several more Congress leaders are expected to join the TMC. Barman said, “Large numbers of Congress workers from rural areas are contacting us. Just wait and watch how the Congress collapses like a pack of cards on August 9.”
Barman, who was here to attend the TMC’s martyrs’ day meeting on July 21, met Mamata separately. “We are confident that like in Bengal, the TMC will oust the CPM from power during the 2018 Assembly elections. People have recognised Mamata Banerjee as the main anti-Left force and we want to start our movement right now as the people are flocking to the TMC,” he said.
TMC national secretary and Rajya Sabha member Mukul Roy is leaving for Agartala on Monday to hold meetings with state TMC leaders and plans to mobilise a large gathering for Mamata’s public meeting.
Roy said, “I am going early to chalk out the details of our leader’s public meeting. The workers and leaders in Tripura will also be more enthused.” Before the public meeting, giant Mamata cut-outs will be put up all over the state capital.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign, Mamata had addressed a number of meetings in the state. Though people had turned out in large numbers, the TMC did not garner many votes.

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