Mamata tries to turn Congress into Congress (M)… a corner of the opposition
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the Congress Party in Lok Sabha, MP for Berhampore and President of the Bengal State Congress, spoke to The Indian Express. Extracts:
Following the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, Rakesh Tikait and Chandra Shekhar Azad were allowed to visit families, but not congressional leaders. Why?
It is a clear manifestation that the dispensation of power and the chief ministers of the BJP favor regional parties like the Bhim Party and the Trinamool Congress. This is because they think these parties and outfits have sweet approaches and can be okay. The access provided to them will not affect the BJP. The BJP therefore thinks it prudent to authorize Tikait and TMC. TMC played the role of second fiddle in subverting the convergence of opposition parties. For BJP, the carrot is for TMC, the stick for Congress.
But Priyanka Gandhi’s courage and determination and the uncompromising attitude of Congress forced the BJP government to give in. Her vigor and bravery which withstood intimidation from the Yogi government has boosted the morale of Congress workers across the country and we now expect her to play a more assertive role.
What is the strategy of Congress in UP?
There is no political strategy. It is a gesture of solidarity with the farming community. It was about a humanitarian and moral awareness to the farming community. The political strategy will be developed by the senior leadership and will be communicated to you. At this very moment, the Congress Party will continue to protest against the brutal attitude of the government. Why were the farmers broke? The BJP government must respond.
Are Congress leaders, former CMs and MPs, leaders of states like Assam, Goa and Meghalaya joining TMC and talking about “joining the congressional family”?
Mamata Banerjee tries to turn Congress into Congress (M) by inducing and seducing Congress leaders from various parts of India. Thanks to this, she becomes an instrument of Modi’s grip on power. It digs a wedge in the opposition coalition. I would like to remind you that it was the late Rajiv Gandhi who promoted her in the hierarchy of the Congress. She later obtained ministerial positions in the congressional-led UPA. Now that same person, because of his political ambition, is stabbing Congress in the back. Congress is an easy target because it always benefits from proximity to certain congressional leaders.
Are you suggesting that TMC is trying to emerge as a new Congress?
In Lok Sabha’s last election, the BJP won 37.36% of the vote. Sixty-three percent voted against the BJP. Electoral arithmetic, without forging an alliance, will not be able to stop the juggernaut Modi. Mamata Banerjee began to subvert. The deliberate subversion of TMC, in collusion with Prashant Kishor’s IPAC, is likely to offer relief to BJP… There is nothing illogical about anyone dreaming of being PM. But without forging an alliance, it will not be possible to harness electoral dividends. Interestingly, after being questioned by ED (Enforcement Directorate in Delhi), Mamata Banerjee’s nephew fiercely opposed Congress. His arguments were based on a lie. The BJP was preceded by the RSS in 1925. Since its inception, Congress has fought against the BJP politically, ideologically and culturally… Mamata Banerjee was the blue eye of the BJP in the first NDA government where she obtained the portfolio of paths of iron. She had an alliance with the BJP and it got two Bengal MPs. The party was foreign to the people here. She must apologize to the people of Bengal for invoking BJP in the state.
Amarinder Singh quits the party, then Navjot Singh Sidhu quits, what’s wrong with the party in Punjab?
It is unfortunate what happened in the Punjab. Mr. Singh played a crucial role in Congress, he is a top leader, but in the last five years his popularity has eroded, there is an anti-titular factor. At the end of his term, the party asked him to step down. It was a question of diluting the anti-titular factor. Mr. Singh said Sidhu was sentimental. I think he’s as sentimental as Mr. Sidhu. Seventy-eight MPs opposed him… there was no personal animosity. Mr. Sidhu is also a popular leader.
In Chhattisgarh, we also see a showdown between CM Bhupesh Baghel and TS Singh Deo.
It is at our high command. I’m not aware of what the high command said about the chief ministry … all I can say is that Mr. Baghel as well as Mr. Singh Deo are both our senior and respected leaders and that they have the political maturity to settle any dispute. As for those who have problems within our party, I call on them not to do anything that would strengthen the hands of the BJP.
After questioning the party leadership, Kapil Sibal’s house was attacked. There was silence on the part of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi on this subject.
Please don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Mr. Sibal said something and some young people became moved. Throw in tomatoes and things like that. We do not support what young people have done. But at the same time, Mr. Sibal is a top congressional leader and our member Rajya Sabha. He could and still could talk to Rahulji and Soniaji. We are all an integral part of Congress. Is it appropriate for our leaders to speak publicly about anything and everything?