West Bengal elections: Eye on Siddiqui, TMC works on counter-plan with warning

DAYS AFTER Abbas Siddiqui addressed a rally of the Left-led coalition in Kolkata to a rousing reception, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) seems to be strolling a tightrope in its efforts to counter him, cautious that the rise of the Furfura Sharif cleric and his new social gathering ISF may adversely have an effect on its prospects within the upcoming meeting elections.

Whereas the TMC nonetheless believes that a lot of Siddiqui’s assist is “sizzling air” and “curiosity”, and that the Muslim vote – which constitutes 27 per cent of the state’s inhabitants – will stay with it in an election polarised between it and the BJP, senior social gathering leaders admitted that they must sort out the scenario on the bottom, “and that strikes had been being made”.

A senior TMC strategist advised The Indian Specific that there have been two prices connected to the rise of Siddiqui within the Bengal elections for the ruling social gathering. “Each are pretty apparent. The primary is, hypothetically, if Siddiqui wins assist particularly in areas the place the Furfura Sharif has affect, it’ll take away minority assist from the TMC. Second, for the TMC, it’s not a nasty factor for the Left to wrest again the Hindu votes it had misplaced to the BJP [in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections]. However his alliance may make them stick with the BJP,” a senior TMC chief mentioned.

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, TMC MP and chief whip within the Rajya Sabha, mentioned Siddiqui is a “fundamentalist”, and affiliation along with his ISF could backfire for the Left and Congress.

It’s on this context that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allocation of Rs 2.60 crore for the event of the Furfura Sharif shrine, simply forward of the announcement of the election dates, is necessary. The TMC has additionally reached out to Toha Siddiqui, Abbas Siddiqui’s uncle and in addition a cleric at Furfura Sharif, who met the Chief Minister and City Growth Minister Firhad Hakim final week. Toha has lashed out at his nephew, accusing him of allying with the CPI(M) and the Congress due to “critical allegations of corruption”. He has since publicly backed the TMC.

However senior TMC leaders mentioned the social gathering should stroll a tightrope when coping with or commenting on Abbas Siddiqui.“How to not fall into the counter polarisation entice if Siddiqui turns into more and more necessary,” a pacesetter mentioned.


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