Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has accused Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee of attempting to “turn Congress to Congress (M)” by alluring Congress leaders from all over the country.
Chowdhury, who is also the Bengal Congress president, told The Indian Express said that Mamata is creating rift within the opposition and reminded her that it was late Rajiv Gandhi who brought her up within the party. “Rajiv Gandhi’s push helped Mamata get ministerial berths in Congress-led UPA. Now that same person, because of her political ambition, is stabbing Congress in its back. Congress is a soft target because she still enjoys proximity with some Congress leaders,” said Chowdhary while speaking to the media house.
The senior Congress leader also said that the Bengal chief minister was playing into the hands of PM Modi and the BJP. The Modi juggernaut cannot be stopped without a united opposition. “Deliberate subversion by the TMC, in collusion with Prashant Kishor’s IPAC, is likely to offer relief to BJP…There is nothing illogical for someone to dream to be PM. But without stitching an alliance it will not be possible,” said Chowdhury.
Justifying his claim of a BJP-Trinamool nexus, Chowdhury said Mamata’s nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, started speaking out against the Congress in public only after being interrogated by ED (Enforcement Directorate) in Delhi. “Mamata Banerjee was BJP’s blue-eyed (sic) in the first NDA government where she got Railways portfolio. She had an alliance with BJP and it got two MPs from Bengal. The party was alien to people here. She must ask for pardon from the people of Bengal for invoking BJP in the state,” he said.
Taking the BJP head on, Chowdhury said the saffron party allowed leaders like Rakesh Tikait and Mamata Banerjee to visit families of deceased farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh, but put Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadhra under house arrest. “This means the BJP favours regional parties like Bhim Party and Trinamool Congress because they do not consider these small outfits as a potential threat, electorally…For the BJP, the carrot is for TMC, the stick for Congress,” said the senior Congress leader.
The Berhampore MP said it was “the grit and determination of Priyanka Gandhi” which forced Yogi Adityanath government to allow political visits to families of farmers who died in Lakhimpur violence recently. About Priyanka’s influence on common Congressmen, Chowdhury said, “The morale of Congress workers across the country is very high and we will, henceforth, expect her (Priyanka) to play a more assertive role.”
On trouble with Congress in the backdrop of Punjab crisis, Chowdhury said Amarinder Singh (former Punjab CM) had to go because his popularity had eroded in the last five years. “At the fag end of his tenure, the party asked him to step aside. This was to dilute the anti-incumbency factor… Mr Sidhu is also a popular leader,” said Chowdhury.