The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday said its leader and the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, is the face of opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
The ruling party in Bengal also discounted the credentials of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as a national leader.
TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay said at an event: “We are not talking about an alliance without the Congress. I have observed Rahul Gandhi for a long time and he has not developed himself as an alternative to Modi. The entire country wants Mamata so we will keep Mamata’s face and will campaign.”
“Rahul Gandhi cannot defeat Narendra Modi while Communist Party of India–Marxist (CPI-M) has zero value in the country,” he added.
Several TMC leaders have been projecting Mamata as an alternative to Modi for the next general election. However, the West Bengal CM maintains that opposition unity is more dear to her than any designation.
Mamata’s name is being projected as a national leader following the TMC’s victory in the 2021 West Bengal assembly election.
At a rally in Bhabanipur on Thursday, Mamata said she will not allow the country to turn into Pakistan or the Taliban.
She said the BJP has claimed the Bhabanipur constituency in south Kolkata will become Pakistan if the TMC wins the by-poll from there and accused the BJP of practising divisive politics. Mamata is contesting the by-election from Bhabanipur.
“I don’t like the policies and politics of the BJP. They only follow the politics of dividing people on religious lines. In Nandigram, they had said it would become Pakistan [if the TMC wins]. In Bhabanipur too, they are saying it will turn into Pakistan. This is shameful,” she said.
Mamata lost to Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP from Nandigram during the assembly election held earlier this year. She has to win this by-poll to retain her chief minister’s post.