Scores of Congress leaders on Thursday castigated Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her remark that 'no United Progressive Alliance left in the country'. They said that the political party that continues to think about its 'gains and personal ambitions cannot' take on BJP just by criticising Rahul Gandhi.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, said that Mamata's strength has increased as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is behind her. Alleging that Mamata is helping the BJP, he said, "Does Mamata Banerjee not know what UPA is? She thinks entire India has started chanting 'Mamata, Mamata'. But India doesn't mean Bengal and Bengal alone doesn't mean India. Her tactics in the last polls (in West Bengal) are slowly getting exposed."
He further alleged that TMC is in a cahoot with the saffron party as both suits each other's agenda. "The political game of communal polarisation played together by BJP & Mamata in WB is getting revealed. BJP changed its stance over NRC, it ended with polls. Showing the fear of the NRC they wanted to benefit in the polls. So, BJP agrees with whatever Mamata Banerjee says," ANI quoted Chowdhury as saying.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that the grand old party has tried to include TMC in various socio-political issues where Congress made its name. "Opposition should not get divided and fight amongst themselves, we have to fight against BJP together."
Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh said that the Congress is fighting against the ruling BJP and "those who want to join us, should come with us".
"Those who don't want to join us are free to do so...can any political alliance formed against BJP be without the participation of Congress?" he asked.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that it is time to show opposition unity and added that without the Congress, the UPA will be a body without a soul. "UPA. Without Congress, UPA will be a body without a soul. Time to show opposition unity," he tweeted.
Reacting sharply to Mamata's comment, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said it is merely a dream to think that anybody can defeat the BJP without Congress. "Everybody knows the reality of Indian politics. If anybody thinks they can defeat BJP without Congress, it is only a dream" he said.
Maharashtra minister and Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat said that no individual party can fight against BJP by directly or indirectly criticising Rahul Gandhi. "The Congress is the only viable option for the country and the democracy," he said.
“Rahul Gandhi and his entire family were subjected to personal attacks by BJP and other parties. Defamatory campaigns were carried out against him, but Rahul Gandhi did not back down,” Thorat added.
Another Maharashtra minister and former CM Ashok Chavan said that India has seen and supported the aggressive stand Congress had taken on several issues. "In future also, this fight for the rights of common people will continue under the able and strong leadership of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and our leader Rahul Gandhi," Chavan said in a statement.
He alleged that the Centre had been using the divide and rule policy for the last seven years to split the Opposition. "In such a scenario, it becomes the responsibility of all non-BJP parties in the country not to indulge in politics that supports this (divide and rule) policy of the Centre," he said.
Mamata Banerjee, currently in Mumbai, met NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday. Responding to a question, she said: “What is UPA, there is no UPA now”. His comments came amid signs that the TMC is opposed to a Congress-led opposition front to take on the BJP-led NDA in 2024.
The TMC supremo at a function later said continuous endeavour is necessary for politics. "You can't be abroad most of the time," she said, in a veiled dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi whom the Congress leaders have been projecting as the leader of the Opposition.