Amid calls for a united opposition against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before the 2024 General Elections, the Trinamool Congress claimed that TMC leader Mamata Banerjee, as opposed to Congress' Rahul Gandhi, has emerged as the face of the Opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, news agency PTI reported.
The West Bengal wing of Congress has declined to pay heed to the claims and said that it is too early to make such assertions.
Jago Bangla, TMC's Bengali mouthpiece published a cover story titled 'Rahul Gandhi failed, Mamata is the alternate face', PTI reported.
Quoting TMC's Lok Sabha party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay, it read,
"The country is seeking an alternative. I have known Rahul Gandhi for a long time, but I must say he has failed to emerge as an alternative face to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But Mamata Banerjee has been successful in emerging as an alternative face to Modi."Sudip Bandopadhyay, in Jago Bangla
On Friday, 17 September, TMC functionary Kunal Ghosh had asserted that the party doesn't aim to disrespect Congress.
Ghosh stated, "Sudip Bandopadhyay has not talked about any alternative force without the Congress. He just said in his experiences, people are not accepting Rahul Gandhi as an alternative face to Narendra Modi. He (Mr Gandhi) is not ready yet."
He added that while Mamata has proved her leadership by defeating BJP in WB state elections, the Congress leader has suffered defeat in the last two Lok Sabha elections.
What Congress Has Said
Reacting to these assertions, state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said "We don't get into a debate over who is successful and who is not. It is 2021, and the Lok Sabha polls are due in 2024. Rahul Gandhi has been the most consistent opposition face against the Modi government since 2014," PTI quoted.
Meanwhile, Pradip Bhattacharya, veteran Congress leader and MP had underlined that in an alliance, all parties involved make a unanimous decision about the leadership.
"The history of Indian politics has shown that when an alliance is formed, the allies unanimously make the decision on who will lead the alliance. So there can be a lot of opinions, but it is not the final decision," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)