Ups and downs of Trinamool-Congress relations:
There is a perception that there is breakdown of communication between the Trinamool Congress and the Congress, in spite of the general belief that Mamata Banerjee and Sonia Gandhi, share a good relation and there is always a chance of a political reunion.
The battle is not to exclude Congress but to remove it from the position of leadership in a possible opposition alliance.
On the one hand, maintaining a good rapport with parties like NCP and Shiv Sena, and on the other a friendly relation with the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, the TMC is clearly also on a mission to rob the Congress of its allies.
Well-placed sources close to both Mamata Banerjee and 10, Janpath insist that the misgivings may have a short life and there is a potential of a political re-union. A lot would depend upon the outcome of the five state assembly polls of Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Uttar Pradesh. These sources also emphasise that there have been no breakdown of Mamata-Sonia ties and if the Congress interim president takes the lead, now or later, all contentious issues between the two political parties have a potential to get sorted. Another significant observation is that no individual or advisor from either side has the heft to jettison their four-decade-long bond.
Mamata-Sonia-Rahul-Priyanka relations are mired in emotions, one-upmanship and lack of communication
The Trinamool Congress supremo is on a visit to Maharashtra, where she is holding back-to-back meetings with other Opposition party leaders. On Tuesday, the Bengal CM met with Shiv Sena leaders Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee meet NCP leader Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Wednesday. (Photo: Twitter @PawarSpeaks)
There is no United Progressive Alliance (UPA) now, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday after her meeting with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar in Mumbai. It clearly indicates that She believes that anti NJP grouping need not have the Congress as its automatic leader.
Isolating Congress will strengthen BJP: Shiv Sena on Mamata Banerjee’s ‘no UPA’ remark
Reacting to Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s ‘no UPA now’ remark, Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece Saamana on Saturday said “to isolate the Congress by keeping it away from national politics is tantamount to strengthening the current ‘fascist’ state tendency.”
Shiv Sena presented its stand in the Saamana editorial on Saturday on West Bengal Chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee’s comments on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Taking a dig at Mamata Banerjee for her cryptic remark, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said that if someone thinks that without Congress anybody can defeat the BJP, it is merely a dream.
Informed sources say lot of misunderstandings cropped up during Mamata’s meeting with Sonia on July 28 at 10, Janpath. The Trinamool side had thought it to be a ‘one-on-one’ meeting between the two women. However, Rahul Gandhi was in attendance too, participating in deliberations. Some of things, Mamata reportedly had planned to convey, remained unsaid due to Rahul’s ‘idealistic’ and ‘impractical world view.’ The conversation reportedly could not tackle the tricky issue of revival of UPA or a need for a political front.
Mamata-Sonia-Rahul-Priyanka relations are mired in emotions, one-upmanship and lack of communication.
Rahul Gandhi and His Team of Confidents believe that the Gandhi scion is in no hurry to be projected as prime minister.
Rahul Gandhi is emotionally detached over a possibility of some party leaders quitting or switching sides simply because he does not believe in bargaining or cajoling the disgruntled lot moving to the ‘greener pastures.
In other words, there is no remorse or regret over losing Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasad, Sushmita Dev and the rest. “His doors are open for those willing to leave,” says a senior Congress leader part of Team Rahul. They further emphasize that Gandhi scion is in no hurry to be projected as prime minister. They believe that, for Rahul Gandhi issues are far more important than trappings of power.
Trinamool insiders also feel that Mamata baiter Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha and Bengal Congress unit chief is being propped up by Rahul Gandhi. Chowdhury has been relentless in attacking Mamata even accusing her of being Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s informer!” News agency ANI quoted Chowdhury as saying, “20% of popular votes are with the Congress while the TMC is having only 4% popular votes. Can you fight Modi without this share of 20% votes? She wants to break and weaken Congress and Opposition by becoming Modi’s informer.”
The third element in Mamata’s charge sheet, after Rahul and Chowdhury, is Sonia’s reluctance to revive and recast the UPA. When Mamata had won Bengal in May 2021, senior Congress leaders like Kamal Nath had invited her to hold rallies in Bhopal and Raipur to showcase her as the one who demolished the BJP but these events did not take place. Sharad Pawar and some other constituents of the now defunct UPA, had floated the idea of Mamata as convener of the UPA but there was no response from the Congress.
In certain quarters, ace political strategist Prashant Kishor is being seen as the villain of the piece. Prashant Kishor, who is working at the TMC’s consultant and is believed to be one of the key architects of the TMC’s national aspirations, made the TMC positions clearer in a tweet on Thursday: “The IDEA and SPACE that #Congress represents is vital for a strong opposition. But Congress’ leadership is not the DIVINE RIGHT of an individual especially when the party has lost more than 90 per cent elections in the last 10 years. Let opposition leadership be decided Democratically.” Interestingly, until recently, Kishor himself had a walk-in privilege at 10, Janpath and was close to formally joining the Congress. The move was however, abandoned under the circumstances not publicly disclosed.
Trinamool Congress-Congress ties took a nosedive when Mamata arrived in New Delhi ahead of the winter session of parliament and left without meeting Sonia Gandhi. Once again, it was due to a communication lapse. Sonia had reportedly agreed to meet again during their July 28 interaction and a certain date was fixed on mutual agreement. Bizarre as it may sound, when the Bengal chief minister’s office tried getting an appointment, 10, Janpath gate keepers are said to have cited Delhi’s poor air quality as a reason for Sonia not meeting anyone. It is amply clear that Sonia’s consent was not taken as the AICC’s interim chief was seen in parliament and was even protesting against Modi government near Gandhi statue even though air quality was ‘severe.’ Mamata, it is said, took it as a drift of which way the wind was blowing.
Hitting back at West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee after she took veiled swipes at congress leadership and called for fighting the BJP unitedly, Congress said defeating BJP without Grand Old Party is a dream.
Congress general Secretary KC Venugopal said “Everybody knows the reality of Indian politics. Thinking that without Congress anybody can defeat BJP is merely a dream.”
So far from Congress, its leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was taking the lead in vehemently criticising the TMC chief as he has an old feud with her in West Bengal. It may be noted that Congress and Left parties fought together in West Bengal Assembly polls against the TMC and the BJP.
Taking a jibe at Banerjee’s comments earlier in the day, Chowdhury said, “Does Mamata Banerjee not know what UPA is? I think she has started madness. She thinks entire India has started chanting ‘Mamata, Mamata’. But India doesn’t mean Bengal & Bengal alone doesn’t mean India. Her tactics in the last polls (in WB) are slowly getting exposed.”
He termed the meeting between Mamata Banerjee and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar as a “pre-meditated conspiracy” to weaken the grand old party and alleged the TMC chief had become “BJP’s oxygen supplier.”
Defending Mamata Banerjee’s comment on UPA, TMC Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien said, “Congress no longer an opposition to BJP”
In an exclusive interview with India Today, Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien talks about Mamata Banerjee’s, ’UPA is history’ remark and much more.
Questioned as why Banerjee has been targeting Congress, O’Brien said, “Mamata Didi is here for a cause, for the fight, she is here through struggle and the struggle was not against CPM, she had to struggle with her own party Congress to fight against the left front government in West Bengal…she had to form her own party.”
Defending Mamata Banerjee’s comment on UPA, TMC Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien said, “UPA was created in May 2004 with a clear purpose of which was for governance, almost the same set of parties came back to office in 2009 and the UPA continued. But since 2014 another alliance came to office for governance, so the UPA does not exist. If you go by numbers, many of those parties have a diminished strength in the house…but numbers do not matter as they are not in government,” at a press conference on Thursday, December, 2, here. On Congress Party, Derek O’Brien said that the Congress hasn’t been strong enough to take on BJP for a variety of reasons. Dec. 01, 2021.
Adding fuel to fire Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad, while addressing a party convention in the border district of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, December 2, 2021, said, “I wish we [Congress] could achieve this target [of winning 300 seats], but I don’t see that happening now.”