Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is only going to be “more powerful” because the Congress is not serious about politics. Speaking at a TMC event in Goa, Mamata also accused the principal opposition party at the national level of not taking decisions, adding that the country is suffering because of that.
Mamata’s sharp critique of the Congress comes days after political strategist Prashant Kishor hit out at party leader Rahul Gandhi, saying he was probably under an illusion that it’s only a matter of time until PM Modi’s power wanes.
Addressing a group of media persons in Panaji on the last day of her three-day visit to the coastal state, where assembly polls are due early next year, Mamata said, “I cannot say everything right now because they [the Congress] didn’t take politics seriously. Modi ji is going to be more powerful because of Congress… If one cannot make a decision, why should the country suffer for that?”
“They [the Congress] got an opportunity in the past,” the PTI news agency quoted Mamata Banerjee as saying. “Instead of fighting against the BJP, they contested against me in my state.”
The Trinamool supremo apparently sent a message to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), too, in her Saturday speech, saying that her state has had enough of Delhi’s “dadagiri” (a Bengali colloquial term that roughly equates to “bullying”). “Delhi ka dadagiri amka naka (We don’t want Delhi’s bullying), enough is enough,” she said.
She said that her party believes in distributions for the regional parties in elections. Speaking of the upcoming Goa elections, the Bengal chief minister said, “I want the regional parties to be strong, and we want that the federal structure of India to be strong. We should make the states strong. If states are strong, only then shall the Centre be strong.”
Notably, the Trinamool Congress has announced that it will be contesting all the 40 seats in the upcoming Goa assembly elections.
Prashant Kishor, whose profile as a poll strategist shot up after he helped the TMC retain power in West Bengal earlier this year by giving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP a rare snub in the state elections, is also in Goa now, assisting Mamata in finding a foothold to contest the upcoming elections.
Kishor, speaking at a private event two days ago, said, “The BJP is going to be the centre of Indian politics, whether they win, whether they lose – like it was for the first 40 years for Congress. The BJP is going nowhere. Once you secure 30 per cent of the vote at the India-level, you are not going away in a hurry.”
Meanwhile, Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC), a poll consultancy firm, has begun surveys on behalf of the TMC in Goa to help the party expand beyond Bengal. In Goa, the TMC has taken on board former Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro to lead the party in elections.