Mamata Banerjee enters Congress
Sources told NDTV that Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has attacked Congress’s Rahul Gandhi in very harsh words at an internal party meeting. If Rahul Gandhi is the face of the opposition, “no one will be able to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” sources quoted him as saying.
Sources said the chief minister has told party workers that Mr Gandhi is PM Modi’s “biggest TRP”. He has categorically alleged that the BJP is not allowing Parliament to function because they want Rahul Gandhi to “become a leader… The BJP is keen to make Rahul Gandhi a hero,” he said.
“It is the Congress which bows before the BJP. The Congress, the CPM and the BJP are inciting the minorities against the Trinamool,” he told party workers in Murshidabad in a virtual address from Kolkata. The minority-dominated seat was lost to the Trinamool Congress in the recently concluded bypoll.
Earlier, Trinamool MP and leader of the party in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay had said that the BJP benefits from Rahul Gandhi being the face of the opposition.
Ms. Banerjee has been on a collision course with the Congress for the past several years. The Congress is upset that the Trinamool is eating into its votes in Bengal and the Northeast, where the party contested the recent assembly polls but failed to win any seats.
Ahead of the election, Mr Gandhi had attacked the Trinamool, citing political violence in Bengal and the Saradha scam – issues on which the BJP regularly targets the party. Congress’s Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary is the most strident critic of the Trinamool in Bengal.
But after Trinamool’s defeat from Congress in Murshidabad, the matter has worsened further. Both the parties now regularly accuse each other of being puppets of the BJP. Back-channel talks between the two parties for a united front against the BJP in 2024 have failed. Ms. Banerjee has announced that she will contest the election alone. The party has denied any back-channel talks.