Mamata's dharna and Congress' alliance dilemma

Mamata's dharna and Congress' alliance dilemma

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu stand for national anthem after announcing the end of her 46-hour-long 'Save Constitution' dharna in Kolkata, Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019. PTI

Whenever West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeks to unify the Opposition against the BJP, the Congress seems to be pushed into a dilemma.

After Banerjee's mega Opposition rally in January, her dharna against the CBI has also got support from Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

This has once again contradicted the Bengal Congress' anti-TMC stand and has increased their confusion over the party high command’s view regarding TMC.

While Rahul Gandhi had extended support to Mamata's dharna being well aware that it is against the CBI's attempt to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the chit fund scam, the state Congress president Somen Mitra has accused Kumar of "avoiding" the CBI.

The state Congress on Wednesday took out a large rally in Kolkata demanding immediate arrest of those involved in the chit fund scam.

Going one step further, Mitra even slammed the chief minister for defending Kumar.

"Why the CBI came to the residence of another responsible officer (Kumar)? He could have challenged their identity. Why did he tried to hide? And by shielding the person we witnessed a unique act by the chief minister. Violating all protocols, she came to the police commissioner's residence, held a meeting there and then declared that she will hold a satyagraha," said Mitra.

Questioning the chief minister's actions further, Mitra asked whether "we should presume more big names are involved in this?" He also questioned Kumar's meeting with Mamata during the dharna.

The state Congress leadership is also apprehensive that if the party high command continues to extend open support to the TMC supremo, then it will further alienate the CPM-led Left Front, their preferred alliance partner.

The relation between Congress and CPM is already strained. While the state Congress is still grumbling over the way CPM cold-shouldered them after the Assembly election in 2016, the CPM has taken exception to the Congress central leadership's repeated expression of support to Banerjee.

"The party high command has no choice but to support TMC's fight against the BJP as they have to keep in mind the political equations at the national level. But this may create confusion among Congress workers in Bengal," a senior state Congress leader told DH.