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TMC Expands National Footprint At Congress’ Expense: Is Mamata Out to Eat Rahul’s Lunch?

India Ahead’s Aditi Ananthanayanana decodes how Mamata Banerjee is expanding her national footprint at the expense of the Congress party.

AHEAD of the Lok Sabha polls of 2024, the contest for who is the bigger opposition has already begun. In this race, Trinamool Congress has been mercilessly breaking apart Congress. At a time when party chief Mamata Banerjee is eyeing to bring in ‘like minded’ parties together, she has also made it clear that relying solely on Congress will not be sufficient. 

In the 2021 Assembly polls in West Bengal, Banerjee managed to establish herself as a force that could not only take on the BJP but also defeat the saffron party despite the entire top machinery of the party being roped in. In awe of Banerjee’s influence, leaders in opposition who were miffed with their own parties finally saw an opportunity in TMC.  

Interestingly, leaders like Mukul Roy who had left the TMC to find a larger role in BJP also decided to return home, realizing the growing strength of Mamata Banerjee. 

The biggest jolt to the Congress came when former President of All India Mahila Congress, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, and one of the most popular leaders for the party in Assam, Sushmita Dev dumped her party and joined the TMC.

Then came five-time Congress MLA from West Bengal Mainul Haque. Meanwhile, Prashant Kishor was churning out his strategy in poll-bound Goa where more than 200 Congress leaders and cadres have joined the TMC. 

After Assam, Bengal, and Goa, Mamata roped in former Congress MLA and a youth face from Uttar Pradesh, Lalitesh Tripathi.

In Mamata Banerjee’s recent visit to Delhi, she further dented the Congress by inducting the party’s Haryana Chief, Ashok Tanwar, and Bihar leader Kirti Azad.

What pushed Congress to the worrying point was the mid-night coup in which 12 Meghalaya Congress MLAs, including two-time Congress CM Mukul Sangma, switched over to TMC making it the principal opposition party in the state.

One pattern that has been very similar in all these defections is the reason — all these leaders were unhappy, unable to reach the party’s high command, and were also being sidelined. With this, Congress has also now termed all the defections as a conspiracy being hatched by the BJP and poll strategist Prashant Kishor.

But whatever may be the allegations of the Congress, for Mamata Banerjee, there is no looking back in her efforts of establishing herself as the biggest challenger for Modi and BJP in 2024.

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