Mamata Banerjee to campaign for Priyanka Gandhi in Wayanad, signalling a thaw in relations

Mamata's move to campaign for Priyanka Gandhi underscores a renewed effort towards opposition unity and strategic collaboration in the national political landscape.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (L), Priyanka Gandhi
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (L), Priyanka GandhiPTI

KOLKATA: In a noteworthy development indicating a thaw in relations, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will campaign for Priyanka Gandhi in Wayanad. This development follows a meeting between Congress senior P Chidambaram and Mamata at the state secretariat Nabanna, West Bengal, on Thursday.

The meeting took place ahead of Parliament resuming on June 24 for its first session following the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This meeting was also Mamata's first direct engagement with any senior Congress leader since her party won 29 seats in Bengal in the recently concluded poll.

Priyanka Gandhi is making her foray into electoral politics from the Kerala LS seat her brother, Rahul Gandhi, won earlier this month. Rahul Gandhi won the Lok Sabha polls from Rae Bareli and Wayanad both by margins of over three lakh votes. He has retained the Uttar Pradesh constituency.

Mamata Banerjee and the Congress didn't contest the West Bengal Lok Sabha polls in alliance as they fell out due to disagreement over seat distribution. However, the two parties remain allies on the national level under the INDIA bloc's umbrella.

In December, Banerjee had suggested that Priyanka Gandhi must contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi.

The relationship between TMC and Congress had soured previously, partly due to public statements made by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury targeting Mamata. This discord led TMC to contest the West Bengal elections independently, where they secured 29 out of 42 seats, a significant increase from their 2019 tally of 22 seats.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (L), Priyanka Gandhi
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury resigns as Bengal Congress chief

The INDIA bloc lost the Lok Sabha elections but managed to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party from crossing the majority mark.

The BJP won 240 Lok Sabha seats – 32 short of the majority mark. The party formed a government in alliance with the Telugu Desam Party, Janata Dal (United) and Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena.

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