Bengal Congress wants to fight Mamata; Sonia disagrees

The party top brass sees the Bengal CM as an ally against Modi in 2024, but local leaders think Trinamool poaching on party leaders

Sonia Gandhi believes that all opposition parties must unite, keeping their personal differences aside, to defeat the BJP.

The Congress finds itself in a Catch-22 situation once again: Should it field a candidate against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the Bhabanipur bypolls or step back, keeping the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in mind?

The by-elections to three vacant seats in the West Bengal Assembly and one in the Odisha Assembly will be conducted on September 30. The counting will be done on October 3.

While the party high command is unwilling to field a candidate against Didi, whom Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi see as a potential alliance partner against Narendra Modi in the next national polls, the West Bengal unit of Congress has a different view of things.

News18 quoted a Bengal Congress leader as saying, “Should all opposition unity ‘maryada’ be followed only by us? What was the need to admit Abhijit Mukherjee and Sushmita? Why is the TMC asking for a list of other Congress leaders they can rope in?”

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Sonia Gandhi, on the other hand, has made it amply clear that all opposition parties need to unite, keeping their differences aside, to defeat the BJP.

So when Sushmita Deb quit Congress to join Trinamool, no criticism came from either side. Banerjee is reported to have told Trinamool workers not to say anything against Sonia Gandhi. Sushmita, too, did not utter a word against the Gandhi family.

Also read: MLAs turn weathercocks as politics of opportunism plays in Bengal, Assam

But the Bengal unit of Congress, which failed to win even a single seat in recent assembly polls, feels restless and demoralized. The Congress workers here do not believe tying up with Mamata will do any good for the Grand Old Party in Bengal or anywhere else. They see that TMC is clearly poaching on Congress leaders and not fielding a candidate against Mamata will only demoralize them further.

However, at the Congress headquarters in Delhi, the choice seems to have been made.

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