The Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party have said they will remain equidistant from the Congress and BJP, within a fortnight of Rahul Gandhi speaking of a larger opposition unity to take on the saffron party in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
This joint stand of Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav is expected to be soon endorsed by BJD’s Naveen Patnaik in Odisha, exposing that a larger opposition unity under the Congress umbrella remains a mirage.
While the SP has no presence in West Bengal or Odisha, Banerjee has none in Uttar Pradesh where she had campaigned on Yadav’s invitation last year. Mayawati also does not want any truck with the Congress or SP in Uttar Pradesh come 2024. This means the BJP will be up against a splintered opposition in the two key states of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal next year.
A senior BJP leader, also a union minister, told News18 that Banerjee and Yadav’s stand exposed that Gandhi was unaware of the machinations of opposition parties; and “was speaking through his hat in London” when he said he was aware of talks between opposition parties to come together to take on the BJP.
“Gandhi had promised a big surprise on this front soon (opposition unity). The surprise did come true but with Banerjee and Yadav dumping the Congress well ahead of 2024, Patnaik will soon follow suit,” the BJP leader said.
Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha together account for 143 Lok Sabha seats.