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Rediff.com  » Election » 'It will be a thorny road ahead for Mamata'

'It will be a thorny road ahead for Mamata'

May 15, 2009 15:33 IST
With only a few hours left for the announcement of the Lok Sabha election results, West Bengal Sports, Transport and Youth Affairs Minister Subhas Chakraborty feels the road ahead will be tougher for West Bengal's main Opposition Trinamool Congress than the Left Front.

Chakraborty foresees a Congress-Left alliance at the Centre, in which case the pre-poll Trinamool-Congress pact in the state is bound to fall through.

In a conversation with rediff.com's Indrani Roy Mitra, Chakraborty speaks his mind about the election, its results, his mentor Jyoti Basu's health and other issues.

For some people, controversies are a way of life. You are one of them.

I am never scared of baring my soul, never afraid of voicing my opinions. If it gives birth to controversies, I just can't help it.

Did you derive this strength from your mentor Jyoti Basu?

(Pauses) He is a great leader. There is so much to learn from him, even today.

How is he now?

He is better. Has been advised rest and is under observation.

According to a report in a major newspaper, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee stated that Basu did not vote as he is not happy with the Left Front.

There is no truth in it. Basu could not vote purely on medical grounds, it has nothing to do with politics.

Moreover, he was constantly in touch with the election proceedings. He was watching television throughout the day.

You had challenged the Communist Party of India-Marxist Politburo's decision over Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's resignation issue, prior to the trust vote on July 22. And this time, your comments about Politburo members again created a stir.

I am a man of strict principles. I stand by whatever I do and say. I always felt people at the helm of affairs should have a strong base among the people of the country. That, however, is not the case with some important party members.

Some very senior people in our party too share my views. The only difference between them and me is that I came out in the open about the issue while they kept mum.

And my comments ruffled a few feathers, but what can I do about it?

In an interview to rediff.com, eminent writer Mahasweta Devi expressed her displeasure over Politburo member Brinda Karat never visiting trouble-prone areas and only formulating policies in air-conditioned rooms.

Politics is about people. A politician, I feel, should always have a finger on the public pulse. Only those who are elected by the people, according to me, can understand them better.

Formulating policies can never be the prime task of a true politician.

Exit polls indicate that the results will tilt in favour of the Congress. If that happens, will the Left Front walk in tandem with the Congress?

This decision will have to be taken by the party. I cannot, rather I should not, predict anything at the moment.

But you had stated earlier that the Left Front should join hands with the Congress in order to play a key role at the Centre.

I still stand by what I said. Traditionally, the Congress is the biggest anti-imperialist force in the country and US imperialism is the biggest threat to the world.

The Congress, if you ask me, is the only party that can counter US imperialism and the Left Front has always attempted to put up a fight against imperialism. Logically, therefore, the Congress and Left must work together to battle against it.

Mr Basu had said in February that this election would be a tough one for the Left. What complicated the matters for the Left Front? Was it Singur or Nandigram or both?

As I said earlier, in both Singur and Nandigram, we as a party failed to convey our messages to the people effectively. A gross miscommunication alienated us from popular sentiment.

And with the Opposition taking advantage of this communication gap, matters became even more complicated. People started disbelieving us.

Let's assume there is a Congress-Left alliance at the Centre. What will happen to the Trinamool Congress then? Mamata Banerjee ethically can't be in an alliance which has the Left as one of the parties?

In that case, I foresee a thorny road ahead for the Trinamool Congress.

The Congress-Trinamool alliance will cease to exist if the Left lends support to the Congress. It will be interesting to watch the Trinamool working out a solution to such a crisis.