Edited By: Oindrila Mukherjee
Last Updated: March 17, 2023, 22:01 IST
The Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party has no presence in West Bengal or Odisha, while Mamata Banerjee’s TMC has none in Uttar Pradesh. (Image: PTI)
TMC and Samajwadi Party’s joint stand is soon expected to be endorsed by BJD’s Naveen Patnaik in Odisha. The BJP will be up against a splintered opposition in two key states, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, during the Lok Sabha polls next year
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.
What Rahul Gandhi said in London
Earlier this month in London, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said “there are individual states that work differently”. But, he also said there were a lot of ongoing conversations over coordination.
“There are tactical issues that require discussion. Some states (are) very simple, some states slightly more complicated. But the opposition is very much capable of resolving this,” Gandhi said. This was, however, easier said than done as it is now evident.
In a column on March 6, this writer had posed if the Congress would take a backseat in UP and Bihar – where 120 Lok Sabha seats were at stake – and let the SP, BSP, RJD and JD(U) contest nearly all seats. The Congress only holds two Lok Sabha seats in these two states at present. Or will the Congress let the TMC take the lead in West Bengal, where it holds just one Lok Sabha seat?
Before the grand old party could take a call, the TMC and SP spelt out their stand.
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