FINDING COMMON GROUND
India Today|August 09, 2021
On July 25, the Congress party’s official Twitter handle put out a tweet with a photograph of Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee and a little explainer riffing on Union home minister Amit Shah’s now famous “Aap chronology samajhiye” comment. Shah, of course, was implying an Opposition conspiracy to stall Parliament, but the meme was turning the charge on its head to suggest that the Trinamool Congress national general secretary was a victim of the Pegasus spyware during the 2021 Bengal election. The timing was no accident—Mamata was arriving on a five-day visit to the national capital the next day to hold discussions with Opposition leaders on possible strategies to take on the BJP in 2024.
Romita Datta

On the evening of July 28, Mamata called on Sonia Gandhi for what she called “chai pe charcha”, yet another dig at the big adversary. Talking to reporters later, she said the Congress president was equally keen on building an anti-Modi platform for ‘Hope 24’—Mamata’s catchword for the next general election. “We want to see ‘sachche din’; we’ve seen enough of ‘achhe din’,” she said.

In the past too, the Congress, TMC and other like-minded parties have made noises about the need for a strong national opposition to take on the BJP, especially after the latter played underhand games to grab power. So what’s different this time around? Mamata upped the ante only after she had secured her state bastion, in a bruising battle and seemingly against odds —demonstrating in the process that she had the nerve to take on Modi’s BJP. Also in the strategising mix this time around is the man who helped her forge that victory—Prashant Kishor or PK, as he is commonly known. PK has been busy meeting opposition leaders across the country, including the likes of NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar, who is also an active participant in this enterprise to rally the opposition forces ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

Meanwhile, Mamata’s plans for a big meeting of Opposition leaders at Banga Bhawan on July 28 may not have materialised, but individually many leaders called on her in Delhi, including Kamal Nath and Anand Sharma (Congress). She also met AAP chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, and has lined up meetings with Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) and Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party).

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