scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The TMC is being pro-active and ambitious, Congress righteous and grumpy. Watch this space

🔴 The Congress should know that fuming with righteous rage and dismissing the TMC as the BJP's B-team may not be quite the recipe for its revival.

By: Editorial |
Updated: December 4, 2021 10:10:20 am
The Congress response has been, predictably, grumpy with leaders doubting her motives — citing her stint as a minister in the Vajpayee cabinet in 2003 and her alliance with the BJP in the 2004 general election.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has been on an overdrive to expand her party’s footprint nationally and establish herself as the face of the national Opposition before the 2024 elections. In the past few weeks, many disgruntled Congress leaders have joined the TMC: In Meghalaya, the Congress legislative party split vertically with twice chief minister Mukul Sangma, and 11 other MLAs joining the TMC. Earlier this week, Banerjee was in Mumbai, meeting NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray. She also reached out to the civil society in Mumbai and lent her ear to a section of Bollywood. Earlier in the week, she was in Delhi, where she met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP MP Subramanian Swamy. In Mumbai, standing with Pawar, she dismissed UPA as non-existent — TMC was a part of UPA 2 and had six ministers before she withdrew them. In an apparent reference to Rahul Gandhi, she said “you can’t be abroad most of the time”. Her poll strategist Prashant Kishor put these in context when he said that the Congress’s leadership of the Opposition is “not the divine right of an individual, especially when the party has lost more than 90 per cent elections in the last 10 years”.

The Congress response has been, predictably, grumpy with leaders doubting her motives — citing her stint as a minister in the Vajpayee cabinet in 2003 and her alliance with the BJP in the 2004 general election. The fact is that Banerjee’s criticism is close to the bone. The issues she flags have been echoed in the past by restive Congressmen — the G23 leaders had asked for a full-time party chief and revitalisation of the party organisation. And, with regard to the UPA, it doesn’t need a Mamata to explain that after the 2019 general election defeat and the Congress’s rapid shrinking, the UPA has been long buried. It has rarely put out a (joint) statement on any national issue — the abrogation of Article 370, the government’s Covid-19 management, or tensions with China. Banerjee’s forays into what has been considered the domain of the Congress —the centrist space in Indian politics — should serve as a wakeup call and spur the party to get its act together as the country’s leading Opposition force. An energetic Opposition is essential to keep the government on its toes and hold it accountable to constitutional values.

The TMC, currently restricted to West Bengal but with a rising profile in the Northeast, is far from achieving the spread and depth necessary to lead the Opposition. Politics in a democracy is a competitive, contested space and politicians are free to scale up their ambitions. The Congress should know that fuming with righteous rage and dismissing the TMC as the BJP’s B-team may not be quite the recipe for its revival.

This editorial first appeared in the print edition on December 4, 2021 under the title ‘Didi at work’.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Opinion News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement