West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday accused the BJP of trying to make a hero out of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to divert attention from the burning issues by stalling the parliament proceedings over his recent remarks in the UK.
What did CM Banerjee say?
"If Rahul Gandhi is the face of the Opposition, then nobody will be able to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi," sources quoted her as saying.
According to sources, CM Banerjee has told party workers that Mr Gandhi is PM Modi's "biggest TRP".
"It is the Congress that bows before the BJP. Congress, CPM and BJP are instigating minorities against the Trinamool," she told party workers in Murshidabad today in a virtual address from Kolkata.
The Trinamool has lost a minority dominated seat to the Congress in area in the recently concluded by-election.
A senior TMC leader said Banerjee, while addressing party workers over the phone during an internal party meeting in Murshidabad district, alleged that the Congress has failed to fight the BJP and has a tacit understanding with the saffron camp in West Bengal.
"Our party supremo, while addressing our internal meeting over the phone, said the BJP is deliberately trying to make a hero out of Rahul Gandhi by stalling the Parliament proceedings over his remarks. The BJP is doing this to serve its own interests so that other opposition parties can't raise issues concerning the people. They want to make Rahul Gandhi a hero of the opposition camp," TMC Murshidabad district chairman and MP Abu Taher told reporters.
The internal meeting of Murshidabad district was held at the Baharampur party office on Sunday evening.
Banerjee's comment comes amid the logjam in Parliament over Gandhi's remarks during his recent trip to the UK, with both houses failing to transact any significant business on the first five days of the budget session's second half.
The political nexus of opposition parties in Bengal
The TMC supremo's verbal attack on Rahul Gandhi also comes just two days after it announced that it would stay away from both the Congress and BJP and indicated possible talks with other regional players ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
The TMC also said that the Congress is not the "big boss" of the opposition.
According to Taher, while referring to Sagardighi by-poll results where the Congress had snatched the seat from the TMC, Banerjee said an "unholy nexus of Congress-CPI(M)-BJP" is at play in the state.
"Mamata didi said we have to defeat this nexus in the next Panchayat and Lok Sabha polls. She had asked us to put up a united fight in the days to come," he said.
Taher said Banerjee, without naming Congress state president Adhir Chowdhury, blamed him for having a "tacit understanding with the BJP".
Miffed over the bypoll results, Banerjee had announced that she wouldn't align with Congress in the future.
Reacting to Banerjee's remark at the party meeting, Chowdhury claimed it is the TMC which wants to help the BJP.
"You (TMC) are fighting the BJP and maintaining equidistance from the Congress. This only reflects the true nature of the parties like the TMC, who are nothing but Trojan horses in the opposition camp. The TMC has joined hands with the BJP to protect themselves from the clutches of CBI and ED in graft cases," he said.
(With PTI Inputs)