A day after allies and former allies like Samajawadi Party, Shiv Sena and the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) came out in support of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, the Congress reacted by saying "we are the victims of TMC atrocities and our pain was different". "There are different perceptions. Parties like ours in Bengal are the victims of the atrocities and terror perpetrated by TMC. Our pain is different. It is difficult for parties like ours to survive in Bengal given the kind of terror the TMC has unleashed,” leader of the party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told The Indian Express.
Whille announcing that Sena will not contest assembly elections in Bengal, party leader Sanjay Raut hailed Banerjee as the "real Bengal tigress", and vowed to stand in solidarity with her. "All Ms (Money, Muscle and Media) are being used against Mamata Didi. Hence, Shiv Sena has decided not to contest West Bengal polls and stand in solidarity with her," he tweeted. Earlier this week RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav met Banerjee at Nabanna and extended his support to the Trinamool Congress. Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav too has extended his party support to TMC.
The Congress is facing a political moment of reckoning. It has built up vast alliances in Assam (which it is looking to take back from BJP) and West Bengal (where it has tied up with the left), apart from a do-or-die election against the Pinarayi government in Kerala.
A significant takeaway of the Shiv Sena, SP and RJD pledging support to Mamata is that they are shunning Congress and siding with the Trinamool Congress in the battle for Bengal.
Congress, which has enterted into alliance with the Left Front and Indian Secular Front of Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui for the Bengal polls, promises to defeat the TMC as well as the saffron party in battle royale in the eastern state. The three parties though do not have any electoral presence in Bengal, they could mobilise some hindi speaking voters in some pockets in favour of the Trinamool Congress.
Shiv Sena is with the Congress in the Maharashtra government, but it has prefered TMC intead of the grand old party in Bengal. Lalu Prasad headed RJD though had one MLA in 2006 to 2011 during the left front rule in Bengal is also a marginal player in the state. RJD is also an ally of the Congress in the opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar, but has opted for Mamata in Bengal instead of that party. The RJD promises to rally some hindi speaking electors of Bengal in support of Mamata particularly in the areas on border with the Bihar, where it's the single largest party.