West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Saturday said people voted for ‘Didi’ (Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee) because they felt she is the one who can prevent Narendra Modi of being reelected as Prime Minister in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Addressing a press conference in Kolkata after holding a meeting with all district presidents to discuss the Assembly election results, Chowdhury said, “It is clear that people voted for ‘Didi’ (Mamata Banerjee) because they felt that she can only fight ‘politically’ against Modi. People of Bengal strategically voted for ‘Didi’. Congress and CPI (M) also contested but people reposed their faith in her because she emerged as a face against Modi.”
Chowdhury, who is the Leader of Congress party in the Lok Sabha and Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the Parliament, said, “Congress never had an alliance with the Indian Secular Front (ISF) in Bengal. We only had an alliance with the CPI (M). The image of the Congress party was tarnished due to the ISF. They (ISF) fielded candidates against Congress in Murshidabad. This showed that we never had any pre-poll understanding with the ISF.”
Welcoming Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s statement, TMC MP, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy said the country was passing through a dangerous situation under BJP rule.
“They want to muzzle voices of people and Opposition leaders in the country. Our party chief (Mamata Banerjee) has already called for a united front of all Opposition party leaders. They should come under one umbrella to fight against the dangerous politics of the ruling BJP at the Centre," he said.
“Our party chief has already announced that she is willing to be a part of this united front and she has already cleared it that she is not in the race of heading it," said Roy.
Political experts sensed that with Adhir’s statement it is likely that both Congress and TMC are trying to prepare the ground for an alliance considering the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
This is not for the first time when Adhir’s statement left political experts to speculate that Congress may have an alliance with the TMC ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls.
On June 4, 2021, Adhir had written a letter to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi mentioning that he didn’t want to field any candidate against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Bhawanipur by-polls.
“This is my personal opinion that we should not field any candidate against Mamata Banerjee from Bhawanipur. I have already written a letter regarding this to Sonia ji,” he had said.
In 2019, Mamata Banerjee called for a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ before the Lok Sabha polls to oust the BJP government. To show the Opposition’s strength, she invited all the Opposition’s leaders to attend a mega rally in Kolkata’s iconic Brigade Parade Ground.
At the time, more than 20 national leaders, including former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Arun Shourie; three present chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu; and former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav and Gegong Apang attended the meeting.
On March 31, 2021, Mamata had said the time had come for a ‘united and effective’ fight against BJP’s attempt to bulldoze democracy and the Constitution.
Then, she also appealed to all the Opposition leaders to work for a ‘credible alternative’ for the people of the country. In a letter to the non-BJP leaders including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi issued by the TMC, she also alleged that the Centre-State relations are at its worst since India got independence.