Trinamul makes foray in Jaipur

Jaipur, Dec. 16: Mamata Banerjee's Trinamul Congress made its formal foray into Rajasthan yesterday, opening an office with a puja and a havan hours before the start of a month-long period considered inauspicious for new ventures.

Political observers, however, said the party was unlikely to have much of an impact in the desert state where Assembly elections are due late next year.

The Trinamul office, in a posh city locality, was inaugurated by a priest, Mahant Sitaramdasji, who performed a puja and a havan.

"The mal mas (the inauspicious period) began on Saturday and will end on the 15th of next month," convener Vijay Saraswat, said to have been given the responsibility of starting the party's base here, said.

"So I thought of inaugurating the office as I want to start organising the party at the village and district level early."

Vijay said he has shared a good rapport with Mamata for the past 30 years and visits Calcutta every year. "People here are fed up with both the Congress and the BJP and are looking for a third option, which Trinamul can provide," Vijay said.

Trinamul will start off by appointing district-level conveners and then hold its first major rally in March.

Vijay, however, clarified that the plank would not be parivartan (change) but uplift of the poor and the downtrodden.

Some observers claimed Trinamul would not be able to make much of an impact, despite the Calcutta connection of many Rajasthanis, and that only those Congress or BJP workers who have consistently failed to get tickets would rally around the Bengal chief minister.

"Only a bunch of discontented partymen who have not been able to achieve anything in their respective parties would rally around her," said Jaipur-based industrialist R.K. Poddar, who has grown up in Calcutta. "She has nothing to lose, the main idea of launching the party here is to ensure a bargaining power for the 2014 general election if a case of a third alternative arises."