Mamata Banerjee downplays BJP’s victory, says Congress made mistakes | Kolkata - Hindustan Times

Mamata Banerjee downplays BJP’s victory, says Congress made mistakes

Dec 04, 2023 08:29 PM IST

Mamata Banerjee said if seat sharing among INDIA coalition partners is done properly then the BJP stands no chance in the Lok Sabha elections

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s victory in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh state polls should not be seen as a disaster for the opposition because the margin of the Congress’ defeat is thin, Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee said on Monday while Abhishek, her nephew and TMC national general secretary, observed that India’s grand old party paid the price for not letting young leaders rise in the hierarchy.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI)

“The BJP says it will win 35 (of 42) Lok Sabha seats in Bengal in 2024. Let them win five and show us. Arrogance leads to defeat. If seat sharing among INDIA coalition partners is done properly then the BJP stands no chance next year. The Congress made some mistakes. We have to learn from it and prepare ourselves,” the West Bengal chief minister said at the legislative assembly.

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“Look at the figures. The BJP won by thin margins. It happened because of split in (opposition) votes. There should have been proper seat sharing,” Banerjee added.

Her statements came amid reports that the TMC has not been invited to the meeting INDIA coalition leaders will hold in Delhi on December 6.

“I have not received any letter or phone call till now. I am supposed to leave for north Bengal on the night of December 6 and stay in the region for four days. How can I change my programme?” Banerjee said later in the evening.

Before leaving for Delhi to attend the Lok Sabha winter session, Abhishek Banerjee said not letting efficient young leaders come to the forefront is one of the reasons behind the Congress’s defeat, triggering speculations that the age restriction policy he has been prescribing for his own party may become an issue once again.

The TMC MP specifically referred to Rajasthan but did not name Sachin Pilot or Ashok Gehlot whose tussle is being described by many as the reason behind the BJP’s victory in the state.

“No party can afford to let groups of old leaders cling on to power forever. Young leaders must be allowed to come forward. The Congress paid a price for this,” he said.

“I congratulate those who won. Those who lost, must learn from mistakes,” Banerjee said without naming any party.

Asked whether he will demand an age limit while selecting TMC candidates for the coming Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee said: “Age restriction is applicable to all professions. Age affects a person’s physical ability. Young people have to come forward. But the decision to impose age restriction in our party can only be taken by our supreme leader Mamata Banerjee. I can only give my opinion if asked for it. But I never say only young people can run a party. We need the experience of older leaders.”

It’s been more than a year since Abhishek Banerjee mooted the idea of focusing on the age factor, triggering a tussle between sections of old-timers and his followers. However, the chief minister apparently set the issue aside while addressing TMC leaders in Kolkata on November 23.

“Those who worked hard and made sacrifices to help the party come to power in 2011 are our assets. Age is not a factor. A person who is young in mind cannot be called old. Both young and experienced leaders will work together,” the chief minister said at the TMC meeting.

Bengal BJP’s chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya challenged Mamata Banerjee’s claim that the TMC will sweep the Bengal Lok Sabha polls.

“Everybody can see the writing is one the wall. The TMC will be ousted from Bengal before the 2026 assembly polls,” he said.

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