NEW DELHI: Facing stiff challenge from the Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is visibly assuming the role of the main opposition, the Congress on Thursday hit back at West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief, Mamata Banerjee, for switching alliance between the NDA and the UPA as per her convenience. Calling her a political opportunist in a pointed attack, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala advised the TMC leader “to introspect”.
Speaking to the media at Vijay Chowk, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala took on Banerjee head on, saying: “Banerjee is the same (person) who joined the BJP and the NDA and was also Railway Minister in then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.”
The Congress leader said that her party was a partner in the NDA government between 1999 to 2001. “Then in 2001, she said that she did not like the NDA and BJP and resigned. After 2001, she joined hands with the Congress and contested assembly elections in West Bengal,” he said, adding that in 2003, Banerjee again ditched Congress and joined the NDA and became Union Mines Minister and also went on to say that BJP is our natural ally.
In 2004 Lok Sabha elections, she contested along with the NDA and the BJP and in 2008 again she left the NDA to join the UPA in 2009 and became Minister. “But she left UPA (once again) in 2012,” he said.
“There is a difference between fighting for ideology and political opportunism. You kept switching alliances between NDA-UPA as per your convenience; you should not give us lessons on ideology. She should do some self introspection,” Surjewala lashed out.
His remarks came a day after Banerjee during her three-day visit to Mumbai and meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar asserted that there exists no such collective as a United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
Earlier in the day, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also slammed the TMC and said that no political alliance is possible against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) without the Congress.
Speaking to reporters here, Singh said, “We welcome anyone who wishes to join in our fight against the ruling party (BJP).”
“Almost all parties have formed the government with the BJP except the Congress. There is only one Congress party that is fighting against the party in power. No political alliance is possible in this country against the BJP without us,” he insisted.
Meanwhile Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, also slammed the government for slashing the budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MGNREGA).
“This government after coming to power has slashed the Budget of MGNREGA. The move affects the poor and marginalised the most. The Budget of Rs 1.10 lakh crore in 2020-21 has now been slashed to Rs 73,000 crore,” he said.
The senior Congress leader said that the Central government’s intention is to “make sure that the poor do not stand on their feet and live with self-respect”. The Congress leader said the people who returned to their homes during the Covid-19 pandemic have still not got any work. And there are no budgets for them either, he added.
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