GUWAHATI, April 2 - The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) is seeking to capitalise on the sentiment against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill-2016, which shook the State in recent months even as the party made it clear that it will contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha election on its own in Assam.
TMC, which is fielding candidates from nine out of the 14 constituencies of the State in the polls, is keen to work towards a non-Congress and non-BJP alternative in Assam.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune, TMC Assam unit chief Gopi Nath Das said that party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee is likely to visit Assam at least thrice for campaigning in the run-up to the parliamentary polls.
Banerjee will kick off the party�s campaign in Assam by addressing a public rally at Dhubri on April 5.
�Our leader Mamata Banerjee is our main star campaigner for the elections. We have requested her to hold at least three public rallies in Assam in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. She will be addressing a public meeting at Dhubri on April 5. We are trying our best to make the Dhubri event a grand success and expect that she will come again to address the masses at other places. We have suggested that she holds a public meet in Guwahati and one also in Barak Valley in the coming days,� Das said.
The TMC leader said that the party�s State unit is contesting the Lok Sabha polls on its own as per directions from the Central committee.
�Some people are floating blatant falsehood about alliance between us and the AIUDF. Let me clarify that we are contesting in Assam on our own,� Das said.
The party has fielded candidates from Karimganj, Silchar, Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Guwahati, Mangaldai, Nagaon and Jorhat seats.
�We are hoping to win at least three or four seats. Among those on our sight are Dhubri, Karimganj and Barpeta,� Das said.
He claimed that people of Assam have appreciated the stand taken against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill by Banerjee and the TMC.
�We believe that our determined opposition to the Bill and the strong stand taken by our party�s MPs in the Parliament will click with the electorate of Assam. In addition, we will campaign on a platform of finding a permanent solution to the foreigners issue, including having an error-free NRC, and solving the problem of the D-voters and inmates of the detention camps,� said Das, who is also a former State minister.
He added that TMC wants Assam�s flood and erosion problem to be declared as a national calamity.
�Unemployment is a major problem in Assam. We want 100 per cent reservation for local youths in government jobs. Besides, tea garden workers of Assam deserve minimum wage. There is agrarian distress and easy credit for the farmers, besides remunerative prices for commodities, is the only way to address the issue.
In our campaign we will also highlight the lack of health facilities in Assam and demand establishment of at least one medical college in each district. Both the BJP and the Congress betrayed Assam and we will bring this to the notice of the electorate,� said Das.
He claimed that the government headed by Banerjee has carried out lot of development in West Bengal.
�Taking together both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, our party has over 50 MPs from West Bengal. If we can contribute another two or three MPs from Assam, the bargaining power of our State will increase in Delhi. We will be able to get things done for Assam in cooperation with the MPs from West Bengal,� said Das.
TMC currently has no representation in the Assam Legislative Assembly. The party had, however, secured one seat during the 2011 State Assembly polls.