West Bengal: Trinamool Congress to take a leaf out of AAP's Delhi campaign

Trinamool Congress is set to replicate Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) successful model of fighting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

With Assembly polls a bit over a year away in Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress will launch a campaign on March 2 that will focus on showcasing her government's "good governance" initiatives.

All Trinamool Congress Members of Parliament have been asked to stay in Kolkata to take part in the launch of this campaign. The MPs have been asked to skip Parliament for the day. Parliament is scheduled to meet again on March 2 for a month after the recess for the remainder of the Budget session.

Similar to AAP leaders putting on display their devotion to Lord Hanuman during the Delhi Assembly campaign to counter BJP's aggressive Hindutva push and chanting of "Jai Sri Ram", the Trinamool Congress is set to turn to Goddess Durga.

Election strategist Prashant Kishor's Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) has shaped the latest Trinamool Congress campaign.

After feedback from the ground that Banerjee and her party risked losing support among sections of the Hindus in Bengal for their aggressive defence of the rights of the minorities, particularly Muslims, the new campaign is set to challenge this perception by highlighting the work Banerjee's government has done towards restoring temples and other heritage.

With tips from AAP's successful Delhi Assembly campaign, the Trinamool campaign will try send the message across of how it does not do "politics of hate", but of development. The Banerjee government is set to launch new schemes, including subsidized transport for women, and highlight its work in generating employment, improving healthcare and reducing farm distress in the state.

Incidentally, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the other challenger to the Trinamool in Bengal, also plans to shore up its presence in temples to counter the Sangh Parivar's "religious fanaticism".

A recent CPI (M) internal report has stated, "We cannot leave the temples and other religious places to the mercy of the RSS and its various outfits. We must take steps where we can intervene to see that secular-minded believers and devotees are in the management of temples."

The CPI (M), other smaller Left parties, and the Congress are looking at a pre-poll alliance for the 2021 Assembly polls.

In 2016, these parties had struck an alliance. This alliance didn't do well but split the anti-incumbency votes against the Banerjee government between itself and BJP.

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