Frenemy at the gates
THE WEEK|August 08, 2021
Mamata is one adversary the Congress would want to keep close
SONI MISHRA

ON FEBRUARY 13, 2019, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was in the Central Hall of Parliament, catching up with the members of the house. The country was gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections, and Mamata was in Delhi on a mission to prop up a ‘United India Opposition’.

She bumped into Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who warmly reached out to her. But Mamata was visibly upset. A short while earlier, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had launched a fierce attack on her and the Trinamool Congress over the Saradha chit fund scam. Sonia tried to placate her, saying that despite the differences their parties had, they were friends.

The piquant nature of the relationship between the Congress and the Trinamool was evident in the episode—rivals in West Bengal but in search of a common space in national politics. Though they have never been comfortable in each other’s company, they both know that they need each other.

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