Trinamool Congress eyes 2013 polls to get rid of regional tag

Desperate to shed the "regional party" tag and become a national party, the Trinamool Congress is now eyeing the Assembly elections that will be held this year.

In 2012, the party contested the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh with much fanfare aimed to win enough votes and seats to get the "national party" staus. However, the party's overall performance was disastrous. Not only it failed to win a single seat, most of the party's candidates lost their deposits in the recently-concluded Himachal Assembly elections.

The desperation was reflected in Trinamool general secretary Mukur Roy's remarks. Speaking to The Indian Express, he said: "The CPM is a national party but it does not have number. So number is important. To become a national party we must secure number. We hope we would produce good results in upcoming Assembly elections."

The Rajya Sabha MP, who had a brief stint as Railway Minister, said: "We expect good results in some of the states where Assembly elections will be held this year."

This year, the elections are going to be held in Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Mizoram in the north east, Karnataka in the south, Madhya Pradesh, Chattishgarh, Delhi and Rajasthan in the Hindi-speaking belt.

Roy, who is in charge of spreading the Trinamool's influence in other states, said at present the party is focussing on the panchayats polls that will be held in West Bengal. "After that we will concentrate on other elections. But earning a national status is important," Roy asserted.

Trinamool's is banking a lot on north-east states. Last March, the party stunned political pundits in Manipur by emerging as the principal opposition party.

It won seven seats and secured 19 per cent of the votes. Former MP from the state, Kim Gangte, who had joined Trinamool a couple of years ago, was credited for the party's success. Now, Gangte has been told to foucs on expanding party's base in Nagaland where elections are scheduled for ——.

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