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TMC is in Meghalaya fray to help BJP: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress MP dwelt on the purported motive of Trinamul for contesting in Meghalaya, where a six-party coalition headed by the NPP is in power

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 23.02.23, 04:34 AM
Rahul Gandhi addresses the public meeting in Shillong on Wednesday.

Rahul Gandhi addresses the public meeting in Shillong on Wednesday. PTI picture

Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the Trinamul Congress was contesting the Meghalaya Assembly polls to ensure that the BJP was strengthened and brought to power in the northeastern state and reminded voters of the Bengal ruling party’s alleged traditions of corruption and violence. In his first speech in the poll-bound Meghalaya, the Congress leader said: “Of course, you also know the history of the TMC. You know the violence that takes place in Bengal. You know the scams, the Saradha scam, that have taken place, So you are aware, you are aware of their traditions.”

The Congress MP then dwelt on the purported motive of Trinamul for contesting in Meghalaya, where a six-party coalition headed by the NPP is in power. The BJP is a constituent of the NPP in the government.


“They (TMC) came to Goa and spent huge amounts of money in Goa. And the idea was to help the BJP... and this is exactly the idea in Meghalaya. The TMC’s idea in Meghalaya is to ensure that the BJP is strengthened and they come to power,” Rahul said in his 24-minute address in the capital Shillong.

The Congress believes Trinamul’s participation in the Goa polls in 2022 harmed its prospects and helped the BJP retain power. Meghalaya will go to the polls on February 27. While Rahul was launching the broadside against Trinamul, Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee were attending an election meeting around the same time at 0, about 320km from Shillong.

Soon, Abhishek Banerjee, the general secretary of Trinamul, countered Rahul’s charge in a tweet. “@INCIndia has failed to resist @ BJP4India. Thr irrelevance, incompetence & insecurity has put them in a state of delirium. I urge @RahulGandhi to revisit thr politics of vanity instead of attacking us. Our growth isn’t driven by money, it is people’s love that propels us.”

In another tweet, Abhishek said: “By the same logic, when Congress contested 92 seats in Bengal Elections in 2021, was their idea to help the BJP? Rahul Gandhi’s statements against @AITCofficial is pretty rich, especially coming from a party that has lost 40 out of the last 45 Assembly Elections in India.“

The war of words between Trinamul and Rahul assumes significance because it comes a day after Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge asserted at a poll rally in Shillong that his party was in talks with other Opposition forces on how to win the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. In Meghalaya, the Congress and the BJP are contesting all 60 seats, while the NPP and Trinamul are in the fray in 57 and 56 constituencies, respectively.

The fact that Trinamul is bullish about Meghalaya became clear with Mamata’s frequent visits to the state in recent months. Trinamul grew inorganically after Congress leader Mukul Sangma joined it in November 2021 with 11MLAs.

Trinamul, BJP and the NPP have been campaigning extensively in the state for the past few weeks, especially in the Garo Hills, which has 24seats and is believed to be a stronghold of Mukul Sangma and NPP president and chief minister Conrad Sangma. An observer has said Trinamul, which is desperate to spread its footprints beyond Bengal, has indeed upset calculations in Meghalaya because of Mukul Sangma, a veteran in Northeast politics.

There are, however, questions on whether Trinamul can keep the flock together after the elections as three of its MLAs had already deserted the party. Before targeting Trinamul in his speech, Rahul had hit out at the saffron ideology and accused the BJP of destroying institutions and acting as a “class bully”.

The Congress leader once against raked up the Adani Group issue. He referred to Gautam Adani as “a close friend of the prime minister” and how the businessman had become the second richest man in the world in a few years and got a “gift” every time Narendra Modi travelled abroad and the most valuable airport (Mumbai) in the country.

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