Lessons Learnt from 2018, Mamata Banerjee to Meet TMC Leaders on March 17 as Panchayat Polls Near


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will address the TMC leaders at her residence. (File Photo: Reuters)

Peaceful elections without violence, checking the reach of government programmes, and fighting hard to get rid of the corrupt tag will be the party’s strategy for the panchayat elections

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has convened a meeting of senior party leaders at her residence on March 17 in the run-up to the panchayat elections scheduled between April-end and May which are being seen as a semi-final to the 2024 general elections.

Party insiders said both Mamata Banerjee and TMC’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee will address the leaders, laying down the guidelines for elections.

In 2018, allegations of violence and intimidation raised by the Opposition helped the BJP to some extent to bag 18 seats. Keeping this is mind, the TMC has made a detailed strategy to ensure the mistakes of 2018 are not repeated.

No violence

The top brass has conveyed to leaders and workers that violence and intimidation will not be tolerated during the panchayat election. Sources said Abhishek Banerjee has already a sought report from various districts about leaders who resort to violence and troublemakers may be denied a ticket for polls.

Report On ‘Didir Surokha Kawach’ (Didi Protection Batch)

TMC launched a programme titled ‘Didir Surokha Kawach’ to understand if the government’s schemes were reaching people on the ground. Through this, leaders visited different constituencies and gathered complaints from the locals. Since leaders were assigned zones unknown to them for survey, it also helped prepare a performance chart of village leaders.

Projection of ‘Simple Living’

For the TMC, corruption allegations remain a spectre that continue to haunt it. After the arrest of Partha Chatterjee last year and Birbhum strongman Anubrata Mondal by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the TMC has been trying to project a clean image by putting up leaders known for their simple lifestyle.

Report on Minority Vote

The party was in for a shock when it lost the Sagardighi bypoll — necessitated after the death of TMC’s Subrata Saha — to Congress, revealing cracks in the minority vote bank. This area has 65 per cent minority population and the Congress’ victory has caused concern within the party. The top brass has sought a report and formed a committee to look into the matter.

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