West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Monday lend support to Opposition unity ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls by extending support to Congress "where it is strong." Her statement came after Congress's stunning performance in Karnataka.
"Wherever the Congress is strong, let them fight. We will give them support, there is nothing wrong (in that). But, they have to support other political parties, too," she told reporters at the state secretariat, suggesting that the Congress shouldn't fight TMC in Bengal.
However, Mamata's conditional support did not go down well with Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who said the party will definitely fight the election in West Bengal. "We will definitely fight elections; we will fight wherever it is needed," Chowdhury was quoted by ANI.
He added that Mamata was giving such statements as she feels her party would not survive without aligning with Congress.
"With Congress victory, Mamata Banerjee now feels that she will not be able to work at any cost without doing compromise with Congress, ahead of Karnataka elections have you ever heard Mamata Banerjee saying, vote for Congress to defeat BJP. She is the same Mamata Banerjee who visited Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to support those who are fighting against BJP, but why did not she visit Karnataka to support Congress?" questioned Chowdhury.
This is the first time that Mamata cleared the air on TMC's stand on a possible strategy for opposition unity in the upcoming 2024 elections. The chief minister's stance came despite her not supporting Congress's Bharat Jodo Yatra.
"I am giving you the support in Karnataka, but you are fighting against me every day. That should not be the policy," Mamata said. She added that she expected the seat-sharing formula to give priority to regional players in areas where they were strong.
"Strong regional parties must be given priority. Wherever a regional party is strong, the BJP cannot put up a fight... People are very demoralised, frustrated," said Mamata.
However, Chowdhury hit out at Mamata for ignoring Rahul Gandhi after the Karnataka victory and during Bharat Jodo Yatra. He said the TMC leader has not mentioned Rahul Gandhi’s name even once after the party’s victory in the Karnataka assembly elections.
"We emerged as winner in Karnataka but she did not mention Rahul Gandhi’s name even for once. Even during, the Bharat Jodo Yatra she didn’t say anything. That time also, when all the opposition leaders praised him, Mamata did not utter a word from her mouth. When he got disqualified from the Parliament she didn’t say anything," he alleged.
The Congress MP said Mamata came to power in Bengal because of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi but the former "tried everything to make Congress out of Bengal politics."