Mamata emerging as a leader with a vision: Sushmita Dev

Ahead of 2024 polls, Mamata emerging as leader with a vision, says Sushmita Dev

The opposition must unite in the Parliament over issues that adversely impact the people, she said

Trinamool Congress leader Sushmita Dev, who recently joined the party, during a press conference in New Delhi, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. Credit: PTI Photo

Daughter of former Cabinet minister Santosh Mohan Dev, Sushmita Dev was a strong supporter of Rahul Gandhi’s leadership before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but switched over to Trinamool Congress in August this year. In an interview with Sumir Karmakar of DH, the Rajya Sabha MP from Bengal now believes that Mamata Banerjee is emerging as a leader with a vision ahead of the general elections in 2024.

You left Congress despite being a prominent face of the party. What is the difference you see in Trinamool, compared to Congress?

There are no ideological differences. As of today the critical difference which will define the future of the two parties is that Didi is emerging as a leader with vision, gumption and huge political experience. On the other hand, people are not clear who is the prime minister face in Congress.

You recently said the country can defeat the Modi government in 2024 under Mamta’s leadership. Do you see Didi as the leader of the Opposition and not Sonia or Rahul Gandhi?

A good party president of a national party, acceptable to all internally is not necessarily acceptable as a PM face to the nation. Similarly, just because a leader is a chief Minister of one state does not mean he or she can’t be acceptable to the people of India as PM. To comment more than this on this issue will be premature at this stage. But it is a fact that Mamata has defeated BJP thrice and against all odds.

What do you think should be the approach of Opposition parties ahead of the 2024 General Elections?

The opposition must unite in the Parliament over issues that adversely impact the people and electorally there is no denying that regional satraps are emerging as bigger factors for 2024 than national faces. Congress must play its role well in taking everyone along. 

What makes you so confident that TMC can wrest power in Tripura from BJP in 2023?

There is a complete political vacuum in Tripura, especially in the non-tribal seats. Mamata brings hope to the people there, especially after the last Bengal victory. Also, she is focused on Tripura with Abhishek Banerjee leading the charge. 

Demand for Tipra state (separate state for the Tripuris) is likely to be a significant issue in Tripura polls, particularly in the tribal-dominated areas. But why TMC has not made its stand clear on the issue yet?

Historically, a demand for some sort of autonomous tribal constituency has always been there in one form or the other. Such a big issue must be backed by a decisive mandate. The bigger issue is will the tribal party put the larger interest of the state in removing the BJP above anything else.

You have been a supporter of the CAA but Tripura also witnessed anti-CAA agitation in the tribal-dominated areas.  What would be Trinamool's stand on the CAA in Tripura elections?

I asked for a constitutional solution and as per international law for people who have entered India illegally due to persecution. As a member of JPC, I also said that the Constitution and the international laws together should solve the problem of illegal migrants. So, I asked for an amendment to the CAA and so there is no question of supporting or opposing the CAA in its current form. Also, the CAA was used by BJP only to divide communities and polarise. It helped nobody and is just in the back burner. It was an electioneering tool and it failed miserably.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox