Updated: December 2, 2021 1:14:47 pm
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee drew sharp criticism from many Congress leaders after she declared that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) no longer exists. Her remarks prompted some Congress leaders to highlight the need to put up a united front.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Thursday said without the Congress, the UPA will be a body without a soul and asserted that it was time to show opposition unity. “Time to show opposition unity,” Sibal tweeted.
Without the Congress , UPA will be a body without a soul
Time to show opposition unity
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) December 2, 2021
Meanwhile, leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury accused the TMC supremo of starting “madness” with her comments. “Does Mamata Banerjee not know what UPA is? I think she has started madness,” he said. “She thinks the whole of India has started chanting ‘Mamata, Mamata’. But India doesn’t mean Bengal and Bengal alone doesn’t mean India.”
After a meeting with NCP Chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai, Banerjee took a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday, stating that “you can’t be abroad most of the time”.
“There is an environment of fascism in the country today. A strong alternative needs to be given against it. Nobody can do it alone. Those who are strong should be taken together,” she said in a press briefing. Asked whether Pawar would lead the UPA, she said: “What UPA? There is no UPA now. We will decide on it together.”
In a veiled jab at Banerjee, Congress Legislative Party Leader and Maharashtra Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said the country is well aware of the fight the Congress has put up against the “oppression” of the BJP and the Central government.
“No individual party can fight against BJP by directly or indirectly criticising Rahul Gandhi if that party continues to think about its political gain and personal ambitions. The Congress is the only viable option for the country and the democracy,” he said.
He went on to say that the Congress had fearlessly fought the BJP government in the last seven years under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. “He and his entire family were subjected to personal attacks by BJP and other parties. Defamatory campaigns were carried out against him, but Rahul Gandhi did not back down.”
Congress’s Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI, “We’ve tried to include them (TMC) in various socio-political issues where Congress made its name. Opposition should not get divided & fight amongst themselves, we’ve to fight against BJP together.
Senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said it was essential for all non-BJP parties in the country not to indulge in politics that supports the Centre’s “divide and rule” policy”. “India has seen and supported the aggressive stand the Congress had taken for the withdrawal of the anti-people law of land acquisition and three black farm laws,” he said. “In future also, this fight for the rights of common people will continue under the able and strong leadership of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and our leader Rahul Gandhi.”
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