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After Kejriwal, Mamata backs Congress: New Opposition front taking shape ahead of 2024 poll battle?

Rahul Gandhi disqualified: As TMC and AAP supported embattling Congress, there is a strong buzz that the Rahul Gandhi saga may bring all Opposition parties together and they may agree to form a consolidated front to fight BJP in 2024 Lok Sabha election.

Written By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: March 24, 2023 17:54 IST
AAP, TMC support Congress
Image Source : INDIA TV AAP, TMC support Congress

Rahul Gandhi disqualified: West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC president Mamata Banerjee on Friday reacted to the disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from the membership of the Parliament by saying 'in PM Modi's 'New India', Opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP'.

Mamata Banerjee's reaction

"In PM Modi’s New India, Opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP! While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, Opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches. Today, we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy," Banerjee tweeted.

BRS chief KCR's reaction

"Today is a Black Day in the history of Indian democracy. Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from Parliament is the height of Narendra Modi's arrogance and dictatorship....This is not the time for conflicts between parties. All democrats should openly condemn the misdeeds of BJP govt to safeguard the democracy and constitutional values in the country," said Telangana CM KC Rao.

The development is crucial as it was speculated that the conviction of Rahul Gandhi may create an inverse spiral momentum in the divided Opposition camp that may consolidate their fight against the BJP. Hours after Congress arch-rival AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal's olive branch to Rahul Gandhi, Banerjee, who locked horns with Gandhi for a long time, surprisingly, lent her support to the former Congress president. Kejriwal and Banerjee's support to Congress is crucial as for the first time since 2014, they seem to be on the same page against the BJP. Upset with Congress, TMC, AAP and KCR-led BRS have been the biggest roadblocks in the way to forming a formidable alliance to give a strong fight to the mighty BJP.

Will Rahul Gandhi saga be a jointer for divided Opposition?

It is perhaps the biggest chance for Congress to cash the opportunity because until now it seems that TMC and AAP would never come close to Congress but in the changed atmosphere when top AAP leaders- Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain are in jail and several TMC leaders, including Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee, are under Central probe agencies radar, they showed flexibility in their positioning at national politics. Now, if Congress reacted in harmony with the same tone that of AAP and TMC, they may come into the UPA fold after making a common minimum programme keeping their state-level rivalry at bay at least till 2024 Lok Sabha election. 

However, in the past, the TMC-Congress relationship was fragile and Banerjee showed a love-hate relationship with Congress during UPA government. So far, AAP is concerned. AAP too needs support in its fight against BJP as Kejriwal's party does not have even one MP in Lok Sabha. If it makes an alliance with Congress, it would get successful to draw undivided anti-BJP votes in Delhi and Punjab.

Trouble mounts for Rahul

Meanwhile, a day after being convicted in the 'Modi surname' 2019 defamation case, Rahul Gandhi on Friday was disqualified as Member of Parliament. On Thursday, a court in Gujarat's Surat sentenced Congress leader  Gandhi to two years in jail in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over his "Modi surname" remarks. However, soon after the court granted him bail and a time period of 30 days to appeal against the quantum of punishment. The case was filed against Gandhi for his alleged “how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” He stated this while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Notably, the complaint against his remarks was lodged by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi.

Also read- Will continue fighting and not bow down before Centre: Kharge

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