There is pressure on the Congress to resurrect the UPA, widen the coalition, and adopt a style of collective leadership as Mamata Banerjee attempts to expand the Trinamool Congress’s impact beyond West Bengal and gather together regional forces as an alternative. It has been learned that a leadership change for the UPA is being discussed.
Sanjay Raut, the leader of the Shiv Sena, met senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday amid turbulence in the opposition camp and positioning by the Trinamool Congress. In Maharashtra, where the Shiv Sena shares power with the Congress and the NCP, an opposition coalition without the Congress would be useless, according to the Shiv Sena. The Shiv Sena, on the other hand, wants the Congress to be accommodating, according to sources.
According to reports, the Congress believes that it cannot relinquish leadership of the UPA because it is still the main opposition party. However, sources claim that it is open to the concept of putting in place procedures to make the UPA, which is now largely dead, more collective and representational. Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister, will see Raut today.
Efforts are also being made to call a meeting of the UPA, which will include parties that are no longer part of the coalition. A faction of the Congress believes the party should approach the leader of the Trinamool Congress and give her the role of convenor of a restructured UPA. Some allies believe she should be appeased as well, in order to keep the opposition united. It remains to be seen whether Banerjee is willing to work with the UPA.
According to Raut, the opposition cannot defeat the BJP by forming different coalitions. He stated that there should be a single opposition front, and Gandhi has been asked to lead it.
Raut claimed that he discussed the problem of keeping the opposition united with Gandhi. “We talked about it. Everyone should talk about it. We’ve been arguing for a long time that an opposition front would be impossible without the Congress… It was undoubtedly discussed. Rahul Gandhi will soon pay a visit to Mumbai. His programme is in the works… He said, “I’ll speak with Uddhavji.”
He stated that efforts are being made to call a meeting of the opposition parties to plan the strategy for the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. “I told Rahulji that you should be in charge. You should come forth and work on this in a transparent manner.”
“There can be no [opposition] unity without Congress.” Even if someone else forms a front, the Congress-led front will remain. Even now, several political parties and regional parties support the Congress. So, what will the three fronts of opposition do?”
“I did not take the name of any individual… or who should lead,” Raut said when asked about the Trinamool Congress’ suggestion that Banerjee should lead the opposition. All I’m suggesting is that there should be only one front of opposition. Everyone can get together and talk about leadership…”
When asked if the Shiv Sena will try to bring the Congress and the Trinamool together, Raut claimed NCP chief Sharad Pawar was capable of doing so.