West Bengal: How Mahagathbandhan ceased to exist

West Bengal: How Mahagathbandhan ceased to exist

Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of the state of West Bengal, speaks during "United India" rally attended by the leaders of India's main opposition parties ahead of the general election, in Kolkata, India, January 19, 2019. REUTERS

With the Lok Sabha elections around the corner, West Bengal seems to have become a burial ground of alliances.

While the proposed alliance between the Left Front and Congress has already collapsed, there is almost no possibility of the Mahagathbandhan taking place in the state.

The recent attack on the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the chief minister’s sharp retort was the last nail into the Mahagthbandhan’s coffin in Bengal.

During a recent rally in Bengal’s Malda district, Rahul launched one of his most scathing attacks on Banerjee and accused her of doing nothing but giving hollow speeches. The Congress president also put Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the same bracket.

A stung TMC leadership wasted no time to hit back at Rahul.

Senior TMC Minister Firhad Hakim took a dig at the Congress president and advised him not to waste his time in Bengal, where the Congress has no strength.

However, the real blow to the opposition unity in Bengal came with the TMC supremo’s sharp retort to Rahul.

When asked by reporters about Rahul’s allegations against her, the chief minister dubbed him a “child” and said that she will not react to “what a child has said.”

Ironically, both Rahul and Sonia Gandhi had extended support to Banerjee’s effort to unite the Opposition against the BJP.

The political scenario in Bengal changed swiftly after the TMC supremo made it clear that her party will aim at winning all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal.

The spat between Congress and TMC is likely to benefit the BJP, which is already hopeful of finding a greener pasture in Bengal with the collapse of the Left- Congress.

The absence of any opposition alliance in Bengal and the consequent four-way contest is likely to benefit the BJP.

Pointing out that senior Congress leaders like Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Mallikarjun Kharge shared the dais with Banerjee at her United India rally, state BJP vice president Jay Prakash Majumdar said that the chief minister’s remark proves that she does not give any importance to Gandhi.