Mamata Banerjee's national ambitions may hamper Opposition unity

Banerjee is likely to meet NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena leaders during her visit to Mumbai
Last Updated 28 November 2021, 04:49 IST

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee was in Delhi for four days but did not meet Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi. Instead, she chose to meet disgruntled Congress leaders and while she was in Delhi the Congress unit in Meghalaya split and former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma joined the TMC.

Not only Sangma but in Delhi Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar joined the party though Tanwar had left the TMC in 2019. Prior to this, the TMC brought in Laliteshpati Tripathi from the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, Luizinho Faleiro in Goa and Sushmita Dev in Assam. Dev and Faleiro have been sent to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament).

Mamata met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on her visit this week but when asked about a meeting with Sonia Gandhi she said it is not necessary to meet Sonia Gandhi each time. Banerjee is likely to meet NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena leaders during her visit to Mumbai.

Though Congress is keeping a close eye on these developments it is refraining from directly attacking the TMC supremo. Instead, it is blaming poll strategist Prashant Kishor for luring the Congress leaders into the TMC fold.

However, Mamata Banerjee wants to expand her base outside Bengal and her foray into national politics may hamper the bigger talk of Opposition national unity. The fissures can be seen with the Congress targeting indirectly, with the

Congress' Goa in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao attacking Kishor and alleging that he is misguiding the TMC Chief.

"What are their (TMC) intentions? They have just come here to help BJP. And I do not know whether Mamata Didi knows it or not. But the people who are running this IPAC (Kishor's outfit), have a different agenda altogether I feel. They may be betraying even Mamata Didi," Rao claimed.

However, ahead of the winter session of Parliament, the Congress for the sake of forging a strong alliance against the government is talking to the TMC. On Constitution Day the opposition boycotted the event but now the Congress is looking at the TMC with suspicion. The Meghalaya split has created a furore in the party as Congress was already facing an onslaught from the BJP in the northeast.

Mukul Sangma, who had differences with state Congress president Vincent H Pala, after quitting the party had said, "To be an effective opposition party and to serve the people as per their wishes we have joined the Trinamool Congress. Our commitment towards the people remained unfulfilled despite our meeting the central leadership on a number of occasions."

Pala said that the split will not affect the party. However, the Congress central leadership knows the damage but could not do much to stop the leaders who are leaving the party and is witnessing it helplessly.

Congress could not send all these leaders to the Upper House. It is also out of power in the majority of the states, except Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Punjab and is running a coalition government in Maharashtra and Jharkhand as the junior partner.

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(Published 28 November 2021, 04:49 IST)

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