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'Attempt to please high command': Congress Isolated Further As TMC Hits Back At Baghel; Rakes Up Rahul Gandhi's Amethi Loss

The disarray in the opposition ranks again come to the fore as Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel came under fire for his veiled criticism of TMC on Friday. 

TMC, Congress

Image: PTI

The disarray in the opposition ranks again come to the fore as Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel came under fire for his veiled criticism of TMC on Friday. Pouring cold water on the notion that the aggressive stance of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on the Lakhimpur violence will boost Congress' fortunes, poll strategist Prashant Kishor had made it clear that there are no quick-fix solutions to the "deep-rooted problems" and "structural problems" of the party. This came as a surprise as speculation was rife that Kishor was in touch with the Congress top brass to join the party.

Baghel subsequently took an indirect swipe at Kishor by mocking TMC's ambition to increase its influence beyond West Bengal. Notably, the IPAC co-founder is perceived to have close ties with the TMC leadership and is credited for ensuring the Mamata Banerjee-led party's stupendous victory in the recently concluded WB Assembly polls. Lambasting TMC for "poaching" Congress leaders, the Chhattisgarh CM contended that concerted efforts are required for it to emerge as a "national alternative".

Hitting back at Baghel, TMC claimed that he was trying to appease the Congress high command. This was a reference to the ongoing power struggle in Chhattisgarh whereby state Health Minister TS Singh Deo wants to replace Baghel as the Chief Minister. Ridiculing the declining electoral prowess of Congress, the ruling party in West Bengal raked up Rahul Gandhi's embarrassing defeat in Amethi at the hands of Union Minister Smriti Irani in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. 

TMC's growing footprint

After a hard-fought election campaign, TMC sprung a surprise by decisively winning the 2021 West Bengal Assembly election by bagging 213 seats whereas BJP could win in only 77 constituencies. Buoyed by its third consecutive victory, TMC is mulling projecting Mamata Banerjee as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Making her national ambitions clear, Banerjee propagated the West Bengal model of governance in her Martyrs' Day rally speech on July 21.

Thereafter, she visited Delhi and met various opposition leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi. In an attempt to expand its base across the country, TMC has increased its political activities in Tripura and Goa aimed at emerging as an alternative to Congress. However, the party has riled Congress in the process by inducting many of its leaders such as Sushmita Dev, Abhijit Mukherjee and former Goa CM Luizinho Faleiro. Incensed by the growing political capital of the Mamata Banerjee-led party, Congress recently accused TMC of indirectly helping BJP by dividing the secular votes. 

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