In a snub to Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee, whose party is currently engaged in a tussle with the Congress, the Shiv Sena on Saturday said keeping the grand old party away from national politics and creating an opposition alliance parallel to the UPA without it is akin to strengthening the ruling BJP and the “fascist” forces.
In an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Sena also said that those who don’t want a Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) should make their stand clear publicly, instead of creating confusion by talking behind back.
It said that if even those people who are fighting the BJP feel that the Congress should cease to exist, then this attitude is the “biggest threat”, and added that if there is no unity among the opposition parties, then the talk of creating a political alternative to the BJP should stop.
The Sena’s remarks come in the wake of Mamata Banerjee’s recent visit to Mumbai, in which she made a cryptic statement that ‘there is no UPA now’. On Friday, TMC mouthpiece ‘Jago Bangla’ had launched a fresh attack on the grand old party, stating that it has gone into a “deep freezer”.
Recently, ‘Jago Bangla’ had also claimed that Mamata Banerjee, and not Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, has emerged as the face of the opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“After Mamata Banerjee’s Mumbai visit, the opposition parties have swung into action. There is a consensus on creating a strong alternative to the BJP, but there is a lot of discussion happening on who is to be taken along and who is to be kept away from this alliance. But if there is no unanimity, nobody should talk about taking on the BJP. Leadership is a secondary issue, but there should at least be a decision on coming together,” the Sena, which shares power with the Congress and the NCP in Maharashtra, said.
“One can understand that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP work for the defeat of the Congress since it is a part of their agenda. But if even those who are against Modi and the BJP wish ill of the Congress, then it is the biggest threat,” it added.
The party said that although the decline of the Congress over the last one decade is a cause of concern, plans to further push the party down and occupy its space are dangerous.
It also referred to poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s recent tweet that Congress’ leadership is not the “divine right” of an individual, especially when the party has “lost more than 90 per cent elections in last 10 years”.
Kishor and his I-PAC team have been working for the TMC since the assembly poll in West Bengal and are working on devising strategies in expanding the party nationally.
“Prashant Kishor has made this historic remark that Congress did not have the divine right to lead the opposition. No one had got divine rights. Earlier, the BJP was ridiculed that it was born to permanently sit on the opposition benches, but despite the criticism the party has now scaled new heights,” the editorial said.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party added that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are giving a fight facing all challenges and ridicule. The Congress’s bad luck is that those who grew politically because of that party are now trying to stifle it, it added.
Referring to Banerjee’s remark that the UPA doesn’t exist, the Sena said ,”Just like UPA, NDA doesn’t exist. The BJP doesn’t need NDA, but the opposition parties need UPA. Creating an alliance parallel to UPA is like strengthening the BJP.”
On the issue of leadership of the UPA, it said those who don’t want a Congress-led UPA should make their stand clear publicly and not create confusion by talking behind back.
“Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi should also speak about what they plan to do with the UPA. Those who want a strong alliance of opposition parties should take initiative to strengthen the UPA. Even though there may be differences with the Congress, the UPA can still materialize,” the Sena said.
Those who want that a strong opposition front should emerge in the country, should come forward to strengthen the UPA by taking the Congress along, it said.