TMC leaders had been confident that the farmers were solidly with the party till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections stunned them
For the first time since Mamata Banerjee took charge of West Bengal in 2011, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has begun revamping its farmer wing in an effort to arrest the march of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in rural areas of the state.
The focus is on eight Lok Sabha constituencies in north Bengal, where the BJP picked up seven of its 18 seats in the April-May general elections. In about 50 Assembly seats, most of them in north Bengal, the TMC’s vote share dipped in the Lok Sabha polls compared to the 2016 state polls.
"Didi [Banerjee] has asked us to reorganise committees at all levels and induct the most efficient organisers, if necessary from the parent organisation," said Becharam Manna who heads Trinamool Kishan Kshet Mazoor Congress, the TMC farmer wing.
The TMC farmer wing does not have separate membership but it has functional committees in all of the state’s nearly 78,000 booths.
TMC leaders had been confident that the farmers were solidly with the party till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections stunned them. As many as 13 of 18 seats the BJP won in Bengal are in rural areas.
According to Amal Mukhopadhyay, former political science professor of Presidency College, "The TMC championed the cause of farmers in Singur and Nandigram and stormed to power in the state, but now this class seems to be slipping away. There have been corruption issues even to deny farmers minimum support price. It is imperative for the ruling party to address this gap."The BJP is planning to counter the TMC drive. Ramkrishna Pal, president of the Bengal unit of BJP Kisan Morcha, said, "We have set a target to enrol 850,000 members. Of about 1,100 mandals of the BJP in Bengal, the Kisan Morcha has a presence in about 850. We plan to enrol 1,000 members in each of these mandals."Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.