Two-term anti-incumbency and a ferocious BJP campaign has put pressure on the Trinamool Congress to come out with a promising manifesto.
Carefully choosing Maha Shivratri to release the manifesto as part of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s efforts to counter the BJP’s Hindutva card, sources say the manifesto will be a list of 10 commitments which the TMC will make.
This is similar to what was done under political strategist Prashant Kishor’s direction in states like Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. The manifesto will be along the lines of ‘Nitish ke Saat Nischay’, ‘Captain ke Nau Nukhte’, ‘Jagan ke Nau Ratnalu’ and ‘Stalin’s Seven Promises’.
One such promise will be about free delivery of ration. This has been an issue since the Left regime as ration shops and delivery have been dens of corruption. Even during the present regime, it was felt that the real beneficiaries were not getting the benefits. Sources say the commitment will talk about free ration delivery every month at doorstep so that people will no longer need to go to ration shops. This would ensure elimination of middlemen and promote delivery.
The focus of the manifesto is expected to be on health, women and jobs too. The BJP manifesto is expected by the weekend and there too, the imprint of Centre’s flagship scheme can be seen in its vision document.
The BJP and TMC are engaged in a fierce face-off ahead of the assembly elections in the state where the BJP is keen to occupy Banerjee’s turf as she puts up a tough battle. A series of desertions from the Trinamool Congress seem to have put Banerjee on the back foot, though she insists that those jumping ship would be taught a lesson by the electorate in the polls.
The chief minister faces her former confidant Suvendu Adhikari, who joined the BJP, in Nandigram. For 50-year-old Adhikari, the battle is one of political survival since he has claimed that he will quit politics if he is unable to defeat Banerjee.