Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee has been attacking the Congress, which has made a seat-sharing arrangement with the Left Front for the upcoming Assembly election in West Bengal, in its own den.
She has, however, not said anything against the Congress's top leadership which comprises the Gandhis---Sonia and Rahul. Even in 2011, when the TMC contested the polls with the Congress, Mamata Banerjee taunted Rahul as a migratory bird who just flew in for a temporary stay during the election. But this time, despite being the opponent, she hasn't uttered a single word against him or his mother, the president of the Congress.
This strategy has surprised a few since everybody knows how centralised a party the Congress is and that the party's working closely with the Left wouldn't have materialised had the high command not given the nod.
Then why isn't Mamata taking on the Gandhis and limiting her attack against the Congress locally?
Is Mamata waiting for the high commad to speak against her first?
Some believe the TMC supremo hasn't directly attacked the Congress high command since the latter hasn't said anything against her or her government in this election season so far. The Gandhis have maintained a low profile ahead of the West Bengal polls perhaps because the party's contradictory stands vis-a-vis the Left in Bengal and Kerala have not made them comfortable.
Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury though has been reiterating that Rahul, the party's vice-president, has encouraged him to go ahead with the proposed tie-up with the Left, he has not said anything directed at Mamata Banerjee either. So the TMC supremo has perhaps reciprocated to it and is hoping for a last-minute change of strategy by the Congress high command to not to ally with the Left.
For Mamata and Gandhis, keeping the doors open for 2019 LS poll is important
Secondly, no matter how much the Congress's state leadership has been attacking Banerjee, the latter has maintained a closeness with the top leaders. She was seen backing the Gandhis in the National Herald case, which was seen as a ploy by the NDA government to try to derail the Congress's top leadership. She also responded to to Sonia Gandhi's invitation to attend the event which was organised to mark Jawaharlal Nehru's 125th birth anniversary.
Even TMC Mps were seen siding with their Congress counterparts to protest against the NDA government. The chemistry between Banerjee and the Gandhis could prove to be important ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha Assembly election and hence the two sides are perhaps not willing to ruin the prospects now.
An attack against the Gandhis might make Mamata look pro-BJP
Thirdly, Banerjee has perhaps deliberately avoided attacking the Congress top leadership in the minority-dominated Murshidabad and Malda districts for such an act could be seen as her helping the BJP indirectly through polarisation. The TMC boss, who has a big stake in the state's sizeable minority votes, will never risk that.