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‘Didi important front-line occupant of anti-BJP space, but let’s not decide on a leader at this time’ | India News

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'Didi important front-line occupant of anti-BJP space, but let's not decide on a leader at this time' | India News

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In discussing the implications of the recent assembly polling round for the opposition, senior Congress MP Abhishek Singhvi told Subodh Ghildiyal that an anti-BJP front must be built with consensus and calibration. Excerpts from the interview:
Congress fought against Trinamool but now congressional leaders are saluting Mamata Banerjee’s victory over an aggressive BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is not weird?
Even Mamata’s worst enemy must admit that he has won a staggering victory, apparently with money, logistics, central agencies, and carpet bombing through the media, all against him. I have no inhibition in calling for you to hold up the secular anti-BJP flag. That does not mean that we will not introspect and try to rebuild Congress in West Bengal.
Later TMCAfter the sweep, there are calls for Mamata to become the face of the opposition to face Prime Minister Modi in the 2024 elections. What is your opinion?
No one can deny that Mamata necessarily has to be a major front-line occupant of the anti-BJP opposition space. However, that space must be built with consensus and calibration, and it must be an exercise in interactive coalition building and not of people or egos. ‘What and how’ has to be worked out diligently as soon as possible and ‘who’ as a topic should be relegated last.
What was wrong with the Congressional strategy for the West Bengal elections where the party went blank?
Mainly, the general electorate and those who did not want the BJP decided to make sure their vote had maximum impact and thus voted for the perceived winner TMC, thinking that a Left Congress vote would be in vain. Honestly, some of us wanted a different alignment, but as disciplined soldiers, we follow the vision of state unity on the Congress-Left alliance, which may well have contributed to this defeat as well.
Did Congress fail in its minority strongholds of Malda-Murshidabad while targeting Mamata?
The reason for voting for a perceived winner applies even more to these districts. The electorate need not be against Congress, but the perception that the only way to defeat the BJP was to elect the TMC gained ground. The alignment could have been different, but once aligned with the left, some TMC goals were unavoidable.
What is evident after 2019 is that regional parties have succeeded in thwarting the BJP while Congress has gradually collapsed. What is the problem?
While the results for Congress are dismal, I disagree with the phrase “collapse.” We lost, but we fought hard in Kerala and Assam, and in Tamil naduAs an ally, our strike rate was good. The real grim spectacle was Bengal, where there is no alternative but to rebuild from scratch with new local faces at all levels.
Many believe that leadership alone is not the problem plaguing Congress, but are the problems deeper?
The current leadership of Congress, including the president Sonia gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, are keenly aware of the need to implement a leadership matrix desired by an overwhelming majority of congressmen and will happen soon. Of course, leadership issues must go hand in hand with strengthening, reinventing, and revitalizing Congress from the bottom up.

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