Senior Congress leaders have welcomed the initiative of Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee in which all opposition parties have been invited to unite against the BJP. However, during this time, the Congress has said that it will have to play an intermediate role in such initiatives in the ‘future’. Let us inform that this development has come at a time when the TMC supremo had raised questions about the UPA last year.
Welcoming the invitation of Trinamool Congress President Mamata Banerjee, senior Congress leaders indicated that the Congress will have to play a “central” role for any kind of opposition unity in the future.
Congress leaders also feel that “small” differences between other opposition parties and the 137-year-old party should be forgotten as non-BJP leaders are trying to unite to defeat a force like the BJP.
Deputy leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma told PTI, “This (opposition unity) is the declared position of the Congress. The Congress President and the Executive Committee have repeatedly emphasized this. In the past, Congress has taken the initiative to bring everyone together on one platform.”
“The point is that when we talk from the national perspective, the Congress will take a central role,” Sharma said. The former commerce minister said, “We have to work together with all seriousness (for opposition unity).”
Although the Congress lost to the BJP in the general elections, its vote share in the 2019 elections was 19.55 per cent, which was much higher than that of regional parties. In this election, no regional party got even five percent of the vote at the national level. Significantly, the vote percentage of Congress was 19.31 in 2014, which increased during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress is in power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, while in Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra it is involved in coalition governments. Several opposition leaders, including Supriya Sule of the Nationalist Congress Party, have repeatedly underlined the need for the Congress to come forward and lead the opposition unity. On March 27, Banerjee had written a letter to all non-BJP chief ministers and opposition parties, including the Congress, calling for “progressive forces” to come together and fight against the “oppressive BJP rule”.
Banerjee had also said last year, “What is UPA?” However, analysts believe that since the Congress has an important role in the united opposition, Banerjee may try to woo the Congress by behaving contrary to her previous stand.
Congress leader Manish Tewari told PTI, “This (writing Banerjee’s letter for opposition unity) is a good initiative. Even though I have not seen the letter, I would say that it is a welcome step. There is a need for all progressive, nationalist and secular forces to come together and fight the religious and extremist forces.”
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that “Banerjee is a strong pillar of the opposition.” He said that the opposition should be united to stop the division of votes in every state for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Asked about Banerjee’s criticism of the Congress in the past, Tewari said such petty differences should be forgotten when there is a challenge to “save the country”.