NEW DELHI: Amid clashes in the opposition camp led by the TMC’s foray in Goa, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh dubbed the dissonance as occasional and expected turbulence.
He told Subodh Ghildiyal that communication at the leadership level among like-minded parties was still strong and that unity against BJP will fructify.
Big claims were made about opposition unity after Congress president Sonia Gandhi chaired a meeting of party leaders in August but within a couple of months, its in tatters. Is it the end of the unity road?
Its not in tatters. Occasionally, there are local factors that come into play. There is jockeying, positioning, a bit of grandstanding. But I would not use the word tatters. Its going through a difficult phase but we will be able to overcome these differences. We are already coordinating our position for the coming parliament session, we are in touch with like-minded parties. When you are on a long voyage, you find occasional turbulence. It is all par for the course.
After TMC’s entry in Goa and its comments about the inability of Congress to fight the BJP, can the parties come together?
I am pretty hopeful that we will ride out the storm. There are differences, we are competitors in states, and every party makes a misjudgement of sorts. I don’t see it as abnormal or unexpected. People are free to do politics. There are no laxman rekhas that it is my territory or your territory. Sometimes, statements are made in public which get greater play because of the media. This was expected, we had factored this in. But channels of communication are open at the very top. There is communication going on at the top and we have started discussing our positions for the parliament session.
But why this dissonance, that parties are fighting each other after making promises of unity?
Every party likes to grow, some like minded parties are in competition with each other. No party would like to take VRS in any state. Its bad optics, but the overall objective of meeting the BJP challenge unitedly and single mindedly in 2024 does not get diluted by this. It is the Indian equivalent of Mao’s “walking on two legs” – competition in states and cooperation at the level of the Centre.
But TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s statements against Congress have been stinging.
I am not competent to comment on statements of individual leaders, but at the level of leadership, there is talk going on. That is good for coordination in parliament and for presenting a cohesive united force against BJP in 2024.
What will happen in the parliament session?
We are still in the dark. The government has not referred any bills to the standing committees in spite of repeated attempts. I had made a request to the leader of the house Piyush Goyal that some important legislations like the electricity amendment bill etc should be vetted by the parliamentary panels but that has not been done so far. Farm laws issue is still there, inflation and Pegasus are important. There are still three weeks to go and who knows what earthquakes will happen during this period. We are still talking to opposition parties. It takes time to crystallise. Election rivalries will not come in the way of our coordination.




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