After the assembly elections and a series of bypolls in West Bengal this year, several leaders from the Congress and the BJP have left and joined the victorious Trinamool Congress. And speculation has started on whether Varun Gandhi may be added to the list in the near future.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will go to Delhi next week. A top leader of the party said that the forthcoming visit of Mamata Banerjee to the national capital is “very significant” in terms of national politics. Tennis star Leander Paes joined TMC during the party chief’s visit to Goa. Trinamool Congress, however, did not say whether there would be such a “surprise” during Mamata Banerjee’s stay in Delhi.
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In the words of a top representative of Trinamool, leaders who are not happy with the Bharatiya Janata Party, but can’t go to the Congress, are contacting the TMC. At the moment, it is clear that Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress may play a key role in putting up a challenge before the Narendra Modi government in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
According to some observers, the relationship between Varun Gandhi and the BJP central leadership is bitter. He and his mother, Maneka Gandhi, have been cut off from the BJP’s national working committee. Varun condemned the killing of farmers in the recent Lakhimpur violence in Uttar Pradesh. He was also vocal against Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse on the Mahatma’s birthday.
Varun will need a new political platform if he leaves the BJP and it is not possible for him to join the Congress, say sources.
Apart from Varun, Kunwar Danish Ali, who joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) after leaving the Janata Dal (Secular), is on the list of possible new entrants in the TMC. Last year, BSP chief Mayawati removed him from the post of the party’s Lok Sabha leader over some differences.
Some West Bengal Congress leaders, however, alleged that Trinamool Congress’s moves are aimed at weakening the opposition and strengthening Narendra Modi’s hand. Mamata and her party leaders attack the BJP in various public meetings but do not say anything directly against the Prime Minister while mocking the Congress, they said. Derek O’Brien, Trinamool Rajya Sabha leader, dismissed the allegations, saying, “Who says all this? Every day, inside and outside Parliament, through the news media or on social media, we continue to make political attacks on Narendra Modi. But it is not in our party culture to personally attack the Prime Minister or any leader.”
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The Trinamool has not made it clear whether Mamata Banerjee will want to bridge the gap with the Congress by meeting Sonia Gandhi in Delhi. However, party sources said that with the arrival of Rahul Gandhi between Mamata and Sonia, the possibility of opposition unity is being destroyed. As the main face of the opposition alliance, the Trinamool Congress naturally wants to portray Mamata Banerjee at the forefront. But, analysts say, they also cannot deny the political reality that the battle for more than 100 seats in the country is directly between the Congress and the BJP; there is no other regional party in the field.