Kolkata: On the eve of the INDIA bloc’s meeting in New Delhi, the Trinamool Congress, a major constituent of the alliance, urged the Congress to abandon its “Zamindari culture” and work towards presenting senior leaders like Mamata Banerjee as the face of the alliance.
Banerjee, the TMC supremo and Chief Minister of West Bengal, is already in New Delhi for the meeting and has advocated that the bloc’s PM candidate be decided after the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
“The Congress, after its defeat in the three states, should take lessons from it. It has to shun the Zamindari culture. It can’t treat its partners as its subjects. To ensure that the INDIA bloc wins, it must make Mamata Banerjee, who is a three-time chief minister and three-time union minister, and other senior leaders the face of the INDIA bloc,” TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh told reporters here.
The Congress fought alone and lost the assembly elections in Hindi heartland states – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan – to the BJP recently.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the grand old party’s performance, Ghosh said, “The Congress has repeatedly failed to defeat the BJP. On the other hand, the TMC under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee has the record of defeating the BJP umpteen number of times.”
This remark prompted a sharp response from the West Bengal Congress unit, with spokesperson Soumya Aich Roy asserting, “We don’t need lessons from the TMC on how to fight against the BJP. It is the Congress, which has been consistently fighting against the BJP, unlike the TMC which on several occasions has compromised with the saffron camp.”
According to TMC sources, the party is eager to expedite seat-sharing talks, establish a collective narrative, and finalise the manifesto to present a credible challenge against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
In New Delhi, Banerjee stated that the INDIA bloc’s prime ministerial candidate will be decided after the 2024 general elections, expressing confidence that the alliance will resolve issues, including seat-sharing, and defeat the BJP.
She dismissed suggestions that the alliance has lost time in organising things, stating, “It is better late than never,” and expressed confidence that formation of an alliance is possible in West Bengal among the TMC, Congress, and the Left.
Her remarks also drew sharp reactions from the CPI(M) and the Congress in the state.
“The TMC has hardly any role in seat-sharing as it does not have any presence in other states. And in West Bengal, all of us are aware that the TMC and BJP are two sides of the same coin,” CPI(M) MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said.
Congress leader Soumya Aich Roy mentioned that the party already has an alliance with the Left in West Bengal.
The Congress and the CPI(M)-led Left Front are contesting polls against both the TMC and the BJP in the state, he said.