The Congress today underlined that it is time to show opposition unity, a day after Mamata Banerjee – looking to enlarge her role in the opposition – snubbed the grand old party.
“UPA. Without the Congress, UPA will be a body without a soul. Time to show opposition unity,” tweeted Congress leader Kapil Sibal this morning in response to Bengal Chief Minister’s “there is no UPA” comment after her meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai.
The Trinamool Congress was once part of the UPA or United Progressive Alliance, an alliance of several parties including Congress that remained in power at the Centre for 10 years from 2004 to 2014 when the BJP came to power.
“We’ve tried to include them (Trinamool) in various socio-political issues where Congress made its name. Opposition should not get divided and fight amongst themselves, we’ve to fight against BJP together,” underscored Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader in the Rajya Sabha.
The Trinamool Congress is pulling its weight to project Mamata Banerjee as the big opposition leader ever since her landslide victory in the Bengal polls in April-May.
The perception is reinforced by efforts to make Trinamool the next big national party after the Congress, with a steady stream of incoming leaders giving it a foothold in multiple states — Goa, Meghalaya, Bihar and Haryana.
“What UPA? There is no UPA now? What is the UPA? We will clear all issues. We want a strong alternative,” said Mamata Banerjee when asked if Sharad Pawar should lead the UPA.
In Delhi last week, Mamata Banerjee gave an open invitation to any leader who wanted to join Trinamool in its battle against the BJP. She also flared up when asked about a possible meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, questioning if it was “mandatory”.
The Congress and Left parties fought together in West Bengal Assembly polls against the Trinamool and the BJP.