TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had reached out to Congress president Sonia Gandhi with an offer for an alliance in the Goa Assembly poll but had failed to evoke any positive response from the grand old party, TMC national vice-president Pavan K Varma said. The Congress, which is not very keen on having an alliance with the TMC, called it an untrustworthy ally”, which is trying to grow at its expense.
Isolation of TMC at the national level has forced Mamata Banerjee to reach out to it, the Congress said. “Mamata Banerjee herself reached out to Sonia Gandhi a few weeks ago and had said let’s leave behind what has happened in the past and look forward to a new beginning in 2022. Soniaji said she will get back after discussing it with her party leadership. But till date there has been no response.”
Confirming the development, TMC’s Goa in-charge Mahua Moitra said the Congress said they will get back in two weeks but nothing has “moved forward”. The relationship between Congress and TMC had hit an all-time low in 2021. TMC had then slammed the grand old party over its alleged failure to fight against BJP and dubbed Congress as an “incapable and incompetent” party that has gone into a “deep freezer”.
Referring to his meeting with Congress leader P Chidambaram in Delhi on December 24, Varma said the proposal of alliance between TMC and Congress for the February Goa assembly polls failed to yield any positive response. When asked why TMC is keen on an alliance with a party whose leadership was accused of failing to fight against the BJP, Varma said it wants the opposition alliance against BJP to be strengthened.
“We should forget the past and move forward. We have to stop BJP in Goa. Strangely, Chidambaram is now saying there was no concrete offer,” he said. When contacted, P Chidambaram said he does not want to get into “verbal exchanges” and have already spoken on the issue.
Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury minced no words in hitting out at TMC and said its claims of organising a united front against the saffron camp were nothing short of a “well-scripted drama” after being isolated in national politics. “The TMC is reaching out to Sonia Gandhi out of desperation. After the August 20 opposition meet convened by Soniaji, the TMC all of a sudden made a u turn and started attacking the Congress – from abusing our leadership to poaching our leaders in other states, including Meghalaya,” Chowdhury, a member of the Congress Working Committee.
Blaming TMC of “doing everything to undermine Congress”, he said it even said that Congress is a spent force and cannot lead the opposition alliance. “TMC’s effort to lead opposition alliance hit a wall after other parties clearly said there can never be opposition alliance without Congress. The TMC is an agent of the BJP and annihilator of Congress. They are now reaching out to us after it was cornered in national politics. They are not a trustworthy ally,” he asserted.
According to sources in the Congress, the party is not keen on having an alliance with TMC in Goa as it is confident of a victory on its own. In a deviation from the past, the TMC has decided against engaging in any form of floor coordination with Congress during the winter session of Parliament.
The ties between the Congress and TMC got strained recently after the latter’s mouthpiece ‘Jago Bangla’, claimed that Banerjee and not Rahul Gandhi has emerged as the face of the opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.