Personal Ambition or United Front? Bengal Discord Over Seat Sharing May Derail INDIA Bloc’s 2024 Masterplan

Personal Ambition or United Front? Bengal Discord Over Seat Sharing May Derail INDIA Bloc’s 2024 Masterplan


Though Mamata Banerjee (left) shares a good equation with Sonia Gandhi (right), the camaraderie has not percolated down to the state level. (PTI)

Though Mamata Banerjee (left) shares a good equation with Sonia Gandhi (right), the camaraderie has not percolated down to the state level. (PTI)

Experts say the main challenge for the united opposition will be to establish a counter-narrative to the prime minister and sort out seat sharing at the regional level, which remains a tricky affair

The lack of consensus over seat sharing in West Bengal is likely to mark the end of INDIA bloc’s grand plans of putting up an impressive show against the Narendra Modi-led NDA behemoth.

A look at the Congress-Trinamool Congress relationship in the state signals that the parties are not keen to align with each other. While TMC has made its disdain clear, veteran Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury too has said he is “not an INDIA leader, I am leader of Congress in Lok Sabha and I will fight against TMC in the state”.

The Bengal Congress unit is also not happy with the opposition bloc’s support to TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee who was recently questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

In a letter to Congress general secretary KC Venugopal, state party leader Kaustav Bagchi said the Grand Old Party must not show solidarity with TMC. “There is no reason why we should stand in solidarity with thieves,” the letter read, showing Mamata Banerjee’s party’s staunch stand on the issue.

Though Abhishek Banerjee has met Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee shares a good equation with Sonia Gandhi, the camaraderie has not percolated to the state level. Sources in TMC say since the party is more powerful in Bengal, it will take the BJP head on.

The story is no different when it comes to the equation between CPI(M) and TMC.

The CPI(M) Politburo has decided to not be a part of the coordination committee in which Abhishek Banerjee is a member. Sources say the decision was taken after pressure from Bengal and Kerala cadres who are not ready to share stage with either TMC or Congress in Kerala and Bengal.

Md Salim, CPI(M) secretary, said: “INDIA is not a political party but a platform. INDIA has been formed to stop BJP but regional differences are present. We are there [in the bloc] but not in the committee.”

Commenting on the state of affairs, political analyst Biswanath Chakraborty said: “CPI(M) has realised that their votes in Bengal will decrease with this theory of ‘dosti’ in Delhi and ‘kushti’ in Bengal. People will not believe them. Though formation of INDIA is a good step, in Bengal, Punjab and some other states, this seat-sharing model is not going to work. PM Modi has started building a pan-India narrative and they have to combat that.”

On the other hand, TMC says it is “always interested” in working with like-minded parties. After the Politburo’s decision, Abhishek Banerjee said: “Only CPIM can answer why they have decided so. Recognising the importance of solidarity in safeguarding democratic values, our doors are always open to all like-minded parties. In this fight against the BJP, we shall stand tall and united.”

Experts say the main challenge for the united opposition will be to establish a counter-narrative to the prime minister and sort out seat sharing at the regional level.



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