The year 2024 may be three years away but the recent bonhomie between the Congress and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has set the ball rolling for the general elections where a united Opposition plans to halt the BJP juggernaut and take on PM Narendra Modi.
Banerjee, who is in the Capital for a five-day visit, will meet Congress veterans Kamal Nath, Anand Sharma and Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Day 1 of her trip, signalling that both the parties are warming up to each other.
The chief minister enjoys good relations with all three leaders who are senior faces of the Congress. Nath, for instance, would always meet Banerjee when he visited Kolkata. Singhvi, on the other hand, has a Rajya Sabha connection with Banerjee and is TMC counsel in various cases.
The slew of meetings can be read as the Congress willing to adopt a flexible stand to accommodate regional satraps in its fight against the BJP, say political pundits. The party has been on a decline in the past few years and that is the reason, sources say, the Gandhis met political strategist Prashant Kishor.
Since the meeting, the grand old party has been giving feelers to the TMC, such as showing solidarity with Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek who was reportedly spied on in the Pegasus case. It is a well-known fact that Banerjee and Congress president Sonia Gandhi enjoy a good personal relationship. The chief minister returned the favour by stating that she was open to a new front which would be impossible without the Congress.
Back home in Bengal, Congress suffered a crushing defeat as it opposed both Banerjee and Modi together. After election results, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had said that he would advise the high command to not prop up a candidate in Bhawanipur from where Banerjee is contesting.
The coming together of the Congress and TMC is a great boost for opposition unity ahead of the 2024 polls but whether or not it will translate to electoral success is a question time will answer.
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