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The ruling party of West Bengal, enthused by its success in the Assembly polls, seems to be on the offensive against the Congress

After the resounding victory of the Trinamool Congress in the West Bengal Assembly polls in May 2021, the party has been trying to increase its presence in national politics.

The past few weeks have seen a new trend where the top Trinamool leadership is taking on an unlikely adversary, the Congress party. Despite the meeting between Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee and Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on July 28 and the Congress not fielding a candidate against Ms. Banerjee in the Bhabanipur bypolls, the political targeting is hard to miss.

In the latest issue of Jago Bangla, the mouthpiece of the Trinamool Congress, Ms. Banerjee wrote an article “Dellir Daak (Delhi Calling)”. The main thrust of the piece published on October 7 was reminding the Congress party that the Trinamool had defeated the BJP and the Congress had not.

“The Congress has failed to fight the BJP in Delhi. The last two Lok Sabha elections are an example of that. Developments like this have demoralised people,” the West Bengal Chief Minister wrote.

“In the recent West Bengal elections, the whole country has witnessed how the Trinamool Congress defeated the BJP which came to West Bengal with all its force,” she noted

This is not the first time that the Trinamool leadership has taken on the Congress in the past few weeks. Several other pieces in Jago Bangla have targeted the grand old party.

In the last week of September, a number of leaders from the Congress party in Goa joined the Trinamool. Former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro, who joined the Trinamool on September 29, had said that the Indian National Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the YSR Congress Party should unite in their fight against the BJP and he would work to bring the “family” together.

On the streets

However, Trinamool party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee does not seem to be on the same page with the former Congress leader from Goa. Mr. Banerjee said that the Trinamool has fought the BJP on the streets and advised the Congress to stop being “armchair warriors” and hit the streets.

The Trinamool leadership has also targeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for a remark that the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh had allowed leaders of the Trinamool Congress and the Bhim Army to visit Lakhimpur Kheri while Congress leaders were stopped. The Trinamool leadership was quick to react, stating that its delegation of MPs was the first at the spot of strife and they had managed to get there by eluding the police.

On its part, the Congress has said that there was not much of a difference between the BJP and the Trinamool. West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury held a press conference on October 8 and accused the Trinamool of trying to “kill the Congress politically”. “Where was this bravery in 2011, when she (Ms. Banerjee) allied with the Congress to defeat the Left? After coming to power, the West Bengal Chief Minister is trying to devour the Congress,” Mr. Chowdhury said. He said the Trinamool had gifted 77 Assembly seats to the BJP in West Bengal.

“Modi wants a Congress-free India and Mamata Banerjee wants a Congress-free West Bengal. We don’t find much difference between the two,” he said.

Political observers recalled that in January 2019 before the Lok Sabha polls, when leaders of 23 Opposition parties held a rally at Brigade Parade Grounds in Kolkata at the behest of the Trinamool chairperson, the leadership of Congress was missing. Enthused with the success in the West Bengal Assembly polls, the Trinamool might increasingly try to isolate the Congress, they said.