The Congress has decided not to field a candidate against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who will face a bypoll in Bhawanipur on September 30. Votes for the bypoll will be counted on October 3. Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said, “The high command has informed us that Congress will not field any candidate against Mamata Banerjee in Bhawanipur. The high command feels that Congress by all means doesn’t want to help BJP in any way by putting up a candidate against Mamata.”
The move once again gives feelers to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) keeping in mind the 2024 elections. Political observers opined that the Congress did not have too many options and is treading cautiously as TMC has now emerged as an important factor in national politics.
Chowdhury also echoed a similar sentiment a month ago, but yesterday, at the state party meeting, he said that things have changed and that a section of the Bengal Congress wants to put up a candidate.
The Bhawanipur bypoll will be the one election where the Congress will be witnessing the poll battle between the TMC and BJP from a distance.
In the 2021 Bengal assembly polls, the Congress-Left alliance drew a blank. The Congress high command’s directive is, however, now clear: nothing against TMC in Bhawanipur. On Monday, TMC’s all-India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said “his spine is not for sale”, unlike other parties — in a veiled attack to the BJP. The Congress now seems to be in no mood to make the TMC unhappy in Bengal and the message is loud and clear.