Updated: March 5, 2021 7:44:33 am
The Congress is part of the Sena-led government in Maharashtra. Earlier, the party had allied with RJD for Assembly elections in Bihar.
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The Congress sought to play down the development, with party leaders saying that “all these parties don’t have any stake or vote base in West Bengal.” While the signal from these parties are clear that they don’t believe the Congress-Left combine is in a position to stop BJP in Bengal, some Congress leaders said there could be more indications.
“If Mamata Banerjee manages to defeat BJP in West Bengal, and if we perform poorly in states like Assam and Kerala too…the call for a third front of regional parties to take on BJP will get shriller,” a senior Congress leader said. “Already there has been a murmur about the Congress not being able to provide the kind of leadership to the Opposition at the national level to take on BJP.”
Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday stated that at the moment, it appears to be a ‘Didi versus all’ fight in Bengal. “All ‘M’s – Money, Muscle and Media- are being used against ‘M’amata Didi. Hence, Shiv Sena has decided not to contest West Bengal polls & stand in solidarity with her,” Raut tweeted.
West Bengal Congress president and leader of the party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said decisions by regional parties from other states to back Banerjee is based on their perception and he would not blame them. “There are different perceptions. Parties like ours in Bengal are the victims of the atrocities and terror perpetrated by TMC. Our pain is different. It is difficult for parties like ours to survive in Bengal given the kind of terror the TMC has unleashed,” Chowdhury told The Indian Express.
Parties like Shiv Sena, SP or RJD have not faced or don’t have to face Trinamool atrocities, he said – “in their states, they are facing atrocities of BJP. So the perceptions are different.”
“I will not blame them. For them, the threat of BJP is real. For us in Bengal, we are facing the threats of both — TMC’s dictatorship and BJP’s communalism. Sixty people were killed on the day panchayat elections were held… In around 20,000 seats they won unopposed…if such a situation arose in UP, Bihar or Maharashtra…they would know,” he said, adding the support extended by these parties will not affect Opposition unity at the national level.