Trinamool Congress (TMC) – The joint opposition nominee for the governed West Bengal presidential election is unlikely to show up on the itinerary of Yashwant Sinha, who plans to travel to Chandigarh, Jharkhand and other places in Bihar before the July 18 elections. .
Although there was no official comment from the TMC on Sinha’s non-visit to Bengal, sources in the former Union Minister’s campaign team indicated that he could avoid Bengal “due to time constraints”.
“It simply came to our notice then. He has to go to many more states and there is very little time. In the case of West Bengal, a majority vote has been secured for him in any case, “the official said. A TMC leader also stressed that Banerjee had instructed every MLA and MP to vote for Sinha.
Sinha was a senior TMC official before resigning on June 21 to accept the opposition’s candidacy. The TMC led the opposition bloc to reach a consensus on fielding a joint candidate. But with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) fielding former Jharkhand governor Draupadi Murmu, who belongs to the tribal community, TMC has maintained a strategic distance from Sinha’s campaign.
Last Friday, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chairperson Mamata Banerjee told reporters that Murmu could have been the consensus candidate of all parties if the BJP had come up with his choice. There is a huge Santal tribal community in West Bengal which includes the former Governor of Jharkhand. The Santal footprint of the state is spread over five Lok Sabha seats and more than 30 assembly constituencies and the community constitutes more than 80 per cent of the tribal population of Bengal.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP posted its all-time best results in the parliamentary elections – it won 18 constituencies – mainly because it won the Jangalmahal constituency and won six seats in North Bengal. Indigenous voters make up about 25 per cent of the electorate in the four parliamentary constituencies of Jangalmahal – it consists of Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram and West Midnapore districts – and eight constituencies in North Bengal such as Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Kochbihar. , North and South Dinajpur, and Malda.
Since June 29, Sinha has traveled to Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh to campaign for his presidency. A source said he is scheduled to visit Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chandigarh in the next few days.
The plan to visit Chandigarh is significant because the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is in power in Punjab as well as in Delhi, was away from a joint meeting of the opposition on the presidential election and has not yet backed Sinha.
After initially supporting Sinha, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha has now found itself in a fix as 26 per cent of Jharkhand’s population is Scheduled Tribes.
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Sharad Pawar, head of the Nationalist Congress Party, who also played a leading role in rallying a common candidate to rally the opposition, is trying to garner support for Sinha. On Thursday, he met several opposition leaders, including Rajya Sabha opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, at his Delhi residence. After the meeting, he tweeted, “We all stand firmly with our candidate Shri Yashwant Sinha to fight for the problems of our country.”
Meanwhile, the Sinha camp has announced that it will travel to Jammu and Kashmir as a “symbol of solidarity” even though it does not have an assembly. In the past, Sinha led a concerned civic group that worked towards the stated goal of “acting as a bridge between the J&K and the people of the rest of India.” Former Chief Information Commissioner of India Wajahat Habibullah and Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak were also part of the five-member team.
From the beginning, Sinha has been describing the presidential election as an ideological struggle. Speaking to reporters in Lucknow on Thursday, he got stuck in line while answering a question on importing Murmur’s candidature. “In the last five years, we have had a certain community president. Has the plight of the people in that community improved as a result? Has any government policy improved the lives of Scheduled Castes? The height of one person does not automatically improve an entire community, ”he said.