‘Darjeeling Pact’: Congress, CPM Come Down Heavily On TMC For VP Poll Move

| Updated: 23 July, 2022 11:56 am IST
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee met then Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar in Darjeeling on July 13, days before the announcement of his candidature by BJP-led NDA for VP polls.


KOLKATA: Congress and CPM on Saturday came down heavily on the ruling TMC for declaring to abstain from voting in the vice-presidential poll, calling the decision a result of the “Darjeeling pact”, a reference to Mamata Banerjee’s meeting with NDA candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar. 

Days before the announcement of Dhankhar’s candidature, the TMC supremo met the then Bengal Governor in Darjeeling on July 13. Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was also present during the meeting. 

TMC leaders had called it a meeting between Biswa and Banerjee, asserting that there was “nothing political”. 

Criticising Banerjee, senior leaders of the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the decision has proved that she could not lead Opposition parties to check BJP’s blitzkrieg. 

Speaking to The New Indian, state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury pointed out the sequence of political developments leading to the TMC’s announcement of support to Dhankhar, a fierce critic of the Banerjee government. 

“Look at their relationship. Himanta came from Assam where people are dying due to floods. Banerjee flew to Darjeeling from Kolkata and the very next day, Dhankhar’s name was announced as the vice presidential candidate of the NDA,” he said. 

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Chowdhury, who is also the Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, further said, “The Opposition called a meeting for selection of a VP candidate but TMC did not attend it. Now, they have announced to abstain. Does not it amount to extending help to Dhankhar? It’s another Darjeeling pact.” 

The TMC would get “blessings” from the BJP for helping Dhankhar, he concluded. 

Sujan Chakraborty, a member of the CPM central committee, said, “We have repeatedly said that she was never a face of the anti-BJP movement.”

“Despite being present in Delhi on July 17, TMC leaders did not attend the Opposition meeting because the deal was already stuck when Mamata met Dhankhar,” he told The New Indian

TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay who went to Delhi on July 17 to attend an all-party meeting ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, in an unexplained move, skipped the Opposition gathering which was called to decide its vice presidential candidate.

On its part, the TMC, while announcing its decision of abstention, said it was not consulted on the Opposition candidate against Dhankhar. 

Opposition nominee Margaret Alva, who had earlier expressed hope of TMC’s support, called the decision “disappointing”. “This isn’t the time for ‘whataboutery’, ego or anger,” she had said in a tweet. 

TMC leaders have denied allegations of being “soft” against the BJP, maintaining that “Opposition unity does not depend on the yardstick of electing President or vice president”. 

“If you think we are soft on any particular party that is a myth,” TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said.


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