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Mamata vs CBI: Congress’s contradictory takes not helping it ahead of LS polls

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Kolkata, Feb 4: The unprecedented tussle between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over questioning Kolkata's Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection to the Saradha chit fund scam, in which several people had lost their money, had taken an ugly political turn.

Mamata Banerjee

The incident, dubbed as one of the lowest points in the history of India's federal functioning owing to the state-Centre clash, also saw the Kolkata Police detaining quite a few officials of the CBI when they wanted to examine Kumar.

With just months to go before the Lok Sabha election, both the ruling parties at the state (Trinamool Congress) and the Centre (BJP) have termed this as murder of democracy. TMC supremo Banerjee took to a dharna in protest against the CBI's action and termed it as an "emergency" while the BJP countered said the "emergency" was rather in force in Bengal and asked who the chief minister was trying to protect.

Mamata vs CBI tussle might have just settled Mahagathbandhan's prime ministerial face

The Congress's stand on the issue is confusing people

While the stance of the regional parties in this episode is understandable as they have called it as an attack by the BJP on the country's federal functioning, that of the Congress has left people confused.

The Grand-Old Party's top leadership has shown its intent towards joining hands with the regional parties ahead of the Lok Sabha elections to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP even if the regional parties have lacked consensus on making Rahul Gandhi's party a party to their alliance.

Banerjee and her TMC have also not been in favour of backing Rahul as the prime ministerial face in the upcoming elections while DMK leader Stalin has preferred so. Strong regional outfits like Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav have not taken the Congress on board in their alliance in Uttar Pradesh to take on the BJP.

Against this backdrop, when Rahul Gandhi has extended solidarity to Banerjee saying what happened in Kolkata constituted "unrelenting attack on India's institutions by Mr Modi & the BJP", the Congress's dilemma gets exposed.

Rahul Gandhi himself has taken a stand in 2019 that contradicts that of 2014

Firstly, there is a dilemma at the level of the top leadership itself. The tech-savvy BJP did not delay in bringing out some old tweets made by Rahul posted during the 2014 Lok Sabha election targeting Banerjee over the same Saradha chit fund scam.

It termed Rahul's contradictory stands in 2014 when he criticised the TMC chief over the scam and the one now when he is standing by her as traits of "Multiple Personality Disorder" and wished that the Congress got well soon. The Congress's top brass certainly has to find an explanation for the inconsistency. Is it doing it just for the sake of defeating Modi?

Former Congress chief of Bengal speaks in BJP's language, attacks Mamata

The second dilemma involves the Congress leaderships at the state and Centre. Former Congress chief of Bengal and a former Union minister Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury took a sharp dig at Banerjee over the latest squabble asking why was she doing dharna to protect a top police official?

He suspected that it was being done so that Rajeev Kumar did not reveal anything to the CBI officials that could land the chief minister in trouble.

He said there was no party official involved in this but yet Banerjee was so agitated. Known to be a staunch critic of the TMC supremo, Chowdhury called what she was indulging in was nothing but "nautanki".

The stands of Rahul Gandhi and Chowdhury, who was removed from the top position in the state a few months back reportedly to make possible reconciliation between the TMC and Congress in state smooth, reveal the inner contradictions of the Congress and it doesn't convey a convincing message to the voters.

If Rahul Gandhi is against corruption, then why is he standing by the TMC chief over a scam-related investigation? And when a former leader of the party in the state also speaks in the language that the BJP is doing, then it certainly makes the party president's position all the more vulnerable.

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