Trinamul Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee and national general-secretary Abhishek Banerjee wasted no time on Friday in issuing statements stiffly critical of the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership.
However, neither the aunt nor the nephew named the Nehru-Gandhi family scion. “In PM Modi’s New India, Opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP!” tweeted Mamata at 3pm.
“While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, Opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches,” added the Bengal chief minister. “Today, we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy.”
Five minutes before her, Abhishek had tweeted: “DEMOCRATIC INDIA is an OXYMORON Now. #ripdemocracy.”
The gesture assumes significance against the backdrop of several instances of Mamata and Abhishek attacking both Rahul and his party, apparently ignoring allegations of Trinamul’s secret understanding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Even on Sunday, Mamata had said Modi and his party wanted to keep Rahul as the foremost leader in the Opposition because he made the Prime Minister look good.
Sources in Trinamul’s parliamentary party said there was no cause for an immediate leap to inferences on Mamata’s change of heart or approach towards Rahul and the Congress.
“What we saw today (Friday) was merely a warranted condemnation of the BJP’s indefensible, murderous stab at the heart of India’s constitutional democracy,” said a senior Trinamul MP.
Abhishek Banerjee. File picture
“This does not mean everything changed overnight,” he said, referring to Mamata’s current propensity to work towards a platform of regional parties, including the 15 that opted out of the NDA, ensuring equidistance from the Congress and the BJP.
“Sure, a lot of things might change between now and the Lok Sabha election next year. What they did to Rahul could also be a key trigger. But there is not enough substance yet to lose ourselves in that speculative torrent.”
The tweets from Mamata and Abhishek were put out less thantwohours before JDS leader H.D. Kumaraswamy called on her and Abhishek at her Kalighat residence here.
The former Karnataka chief minister, whose government in alliance with the Congress was felled by the BJP’s notorious Operation Lotus, is the third regional satrap (after Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on March 17 and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik on Thursday) that the Bengal chief minister met in eight days.
Sources in Trinamul said the current political situation in the country was discussed at length, with a focus on the fight against the BJP in the general election. Rahul’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha, they said, featured in the meeting.
On his arrival at the Calcutta airport, Kumaraswamy, too, disapproved of the action against Rahul.
“It is not surprising… in the present day situation. Everybody knows the central government, how they (have been) behaving. For silly reasons, they will (unilaterally) take their own decisions,” he said.
“Nobody (should) be surprised,” added Kumaraswamy. Asked if it was an act of political vendetta, he said: “Definitely.”