In the ongoing assembly elections of West Bengal, the state and central leadership of Congress are campaigning on completely different lines. Congress is a spent force in the state except in the districts of North Dinajpur, Malda and Murshidabad – where the party is still the dominant force, thanks to the large Muslim population and popular regional leaders like Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is fighting like a pro and has done more rallies in the state than any other Congress leader. Moreover, in his rallies, his major target is Mamata Banerjee and TMC, not BJP because he knows very well that he does not have a common voter base with BJP, but with Mamata Banerjee.
On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi has done very few rallies in the state but he has never criticised Mamata Banerjee. Instead, he has kept his criticism focused on BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite knowing the fact that it makes no sense as the BJP voters are never going to be influenced by him.
Rahul Gandhi probably wants to be on good terms with Mamata Banerjee, so that if the BJP does not get the majority, Congress could lend its support to TMC to form the government. As of now, Congress is in alliance with the Left parties but the alliance isn’t expected to perform well. The 2021 assembly elections are being fought between BJP and TMC, but if BJP does not get the majority, Congress will be ready to play spoilsport.
Despite the bitter history between Congress and TMC (TMC workers have allegedly attacked Congress leaders many times) and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s hatred towards Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi is keeping space for a possible alliance between the two parties.
The primary aim of Congress in any state is to keep BJP out of power. In Karnataka, the party made HD Kumaraswamy the Chief Minister despite being a senior partner to keep BJP out of power but could not rule the state even for a year. Similarly, in Maharashtra, Congress and NCP allied with Shiv Sena in order to keep the BJP out of power.
Rahul Gandhi would go to any extent to ensure that BJP does not come to power in West Bengal, even if this means extending support to Mamata Banerjee. Therefore, he has never uttered a word about Mamata Banerjee in his rallies. Though Rahul Gandhi’s rallies won’t make much difference as TFI recently analysed, this definitely sends a message to the Congress workers.
And, this is the reason behind the shrinking presence of Congress in West Bengal. Rahul Gandhi’s only focus is to not let BJP come to power instead of making his party win, and the regional parties are easily easing up the Grand Old Party’s support base in the process. Rahul does not have a belly to fight for his cause and ideology, and this is the reason that India is progressing towards a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’.