Following up his statement that Congress is key to any opposition front against BJP, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut is meeting Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in Delhi.
The meeting comes amid the party’s emphasis on the importance of the Congress in any opposition front against the BJP, even as gaps between Mamata Banerjee’s TMC and the grand old party continue to widen.
Mamata Banerjee met Raut, Sena leader and state minister Aaditya Thackeray, and NCP leader Sharad Pawar in Mumbai last week. Banerjee stated after meeting with Pawar that the United Progressive Alliance no longer exists. The Sena, on the other hand, has stated that forming a parallel front to the UPA is equivalent to strengthening the BJP, and that the most dangerous threat is that even those fighting against Narendra Modi believe that the Congress should be wiped out. The Sena had asked Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to explain their plans for the UPA.
The political symbolism of extending support to the Congress reflects the unexpected nearness proximity of the two ideologically opposed parties that had struggled to come together in the first place.
On Friday, TMC mouthpiece ‘Jago Bangla’ had launched a fresh attack on the Congress, saying it has gone into a “deep freezer”. Recently, ‘Jago Bangla’ had also claimed that Mamata Banerjee, and not Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, has emerged as the face of the opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Raut, whose party shares power with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra, on Sunday claimed “it looks like Banerjee is contemplating something new excluding the Congress”. The Marathi daily had also said those who don’t want a Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) should make their stand clear publicly, instead of creating confusion by talking behind back.
The Sena in a rebuttle to Mamata’s recent remarks had written in an editorial in the Saamana that while it was true that Mamata Banerjee finished the Congress, Left and BJP in West Bengal, but keeping Congress out of national politics would amount to strengthening the current forces.
With inputs from News18