Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday brushed aside all allegations made against her by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi by saying “he is just a kid”. (Catch LIVE Updates of Lok Sabha Elections Here)
“He (Gandhi) has said whatever he felt like. I won’t like to make any comment on it. He is just a kid. What will I say about it?” Banerjee said. Launching his party’s Lok Sabha poll campaign in the state, Rahul had accused both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Banerjee of failing to fulfil the promises of the people.
At a rally in Malda, Rahul had alleged that nothing had changed in Bengal as there had been no development in the state under Banerjee. He had said, “People are suffering under the TMC rule just as, for years, they suffered under the Left rule.”
Banerjee also refused to be drawn into a conversation around Rahul’s poll promise of minimum income. She said, “They (Congress) have made an announcement and it would not be right for us to make a comment on it.”
The Congress and the Trinamool Congress have a strained relationship in the state after fighting the 2011 polls together.
Although the Congress has shared the stage with the TMC at the national level, in Bengal it has maintained a distance from Banerjee’s party, which, interestingly, was born out of it in 1998.
Congress’ state unit has been accusing the TMC of trying to “politically finish” it either by use of force or by poaching its leaders and elected representatives.
As many as 17 Congress MLAs and one MP have switched over to the TMC in Bengal since the state elections of 2016.
After Congress’ victory in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, Banerjee didn’t even congratulate either the Congress or Rahul directly, drawing sharp reactions. Senior state Congress leaders had then asked if Trinamool Congress leaders were having “sleepless nights” fearing that their dream of Mamata Banerjee becoming the prime minister may not be fulfilled.
Later, neither Rahul nor Sonia Gandhi attended the Mahagathbandhan rally organised by Banerjee, reportedly on the advice of state Congress leaders.