While West Bengal’s CM Mamata Banerjee remained non-committal about her national role, her party colleagues along with Congress leader Sonia Gandhi seemed very positive about it. They see Mamata as the face of the Opposition against the BJP in the centre and this comes as a threat to Rahul Gandhi who is fighting for the same.
Political analysts believe the strategies and activism of Mamata Banerjee at the national level is responsible for Rahul’s moves to create unity in the opposition. It is interesting to note that after Mamata’s meeting with the opposition leaders, the very next day on 28th July, Rahul Gandhi was all set to compete against the tallest leader in the opposition i.e. Mamata Banerjee, as he invited floor leaders of opposition parties to strategize about cornering the government on the bogus Pegasus spyware scandal. The meeting was attended by several opposition leaders. Even though, Mamata Banerjee was in Delhi at the time, she did not attend the meeting. A week later on 2nd August, Rahul once again invited all opposition leaders for a breakfast meeting and seemed very active in the session when interacting with opposition leaders.
After a comprehensive victory against the BJP in the West Bengal assembly election, Mamata has made no secret of her ambition to play as a lead player at the national level which comes as a threat to Rahul Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi seems quite impressed with Mamata’s performance in the West Bengal polls. Moreover, Rahul Gandhi’s failure in leadership made Sonia rely on Mamata as the last ray of hope who can save the Congress party from sinking. Rahul Gandhi was never a regular participant in parliamentary procedures and previously had made no serious and consistent effort to bring the opposition parties under one umbrella in Parliament and put up a spirited fight against the Central government. Rahul Gandhi quickly sacrificed the farmers’ issue for the Pegasus scandal because Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal set up a committee to probe Pegasus snooping row. She became the first state leader to do so, and Rahul Gandhi has gauged that she the biggest threat to his political aspirations.
The West Bengal CM’s recent Delhi visit to meet opposition leaders appears to have pushed Rahul Gandhi to become politically active against the Modi government in the Parliament. Given Mamata’s feat against BJP in the Bengal election, Sonia Gandhi seems quite positive about accepting Mamata as the Opposition leader. However, the Gandhi scion doesn’t seem to be on board his mother. He is trying to portray himself as the leader of the opposition and by doing so, Rahul has indicated that Mamata Banerjee is giving him the jitters and he is doing everything in his power to stop Mamata from becoming the face of the opposition for 2024.