Ripun Bora

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is best suited to lead the opposition front in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, while a section of Congress leaders is more interested in fighting among themselves instead of taking on the BJP, Trinamool Congress leader Ripun Bora claimed on Tuesday.

Bora, the former president of Congress’ Assam unit who joined the TMC on Sunday, alleged that several leaders of the Congress were working in connivance with the BJP in the Northeastern state.

“The BJP is a threat to Constitution, democracy, and moreover to our country’s economy,” he told PTI in an interview.

“The Congress being the grand old party, should have led the fight against the BJP. But unfortunately, its leaders in various states are fighting against each other rather than fighting the BJP,” he said.

Bora, who took over as the chief of the Assam Congress in 2016, claimed that he was able to bring the party to a position where people expected it to form the government in the state in the 2021 assembly elections.

However, “people lost faith in us” due to infighting, he said.

“I was Assam Congress president from 2016 to 2021. I tried my best to bring back the party to power. But a section of senior leaders was fighting in such a way among themselves that the people got demoralised. I tried my best by forming a grand alliance. Presently there is no opposition in Assam,” he said.

Bora, a Congress member since his student days in 1976, said he joined the TMC as it was ideologically the same as the Congress.

“The difference lies only in the approach of fighting the BJP,” he said.

“The way the TMC led by Mamata Banerjee aggressively fought the BJP has been lauded across the country,” he said.

Bora said he left the Congress as he did not want to waste his energy in the party.

“I no longer wanted to waste my energy in Congress which in Assam is least interested in fighting the BJP. I have joined the TMC to build a strong opposition against the BJP in Assam,” he said, adding that he did not switch camps to get a Rajya Sabha berth.

Noting that he still has immense respect for Congress president Sonia Gandhi and senior leader Rahul Gandhi, Bora said that in the present political situation, Mamata Banerjee is best suited to lead the opposition against the BJP.

“It is not that Rahul Gandhi did not fight against the BJP, he did fight, but it did not have the desired impact. Mamata Banerjee too fought and had a massive impact. I think more than Congress or Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee is most accepted and best suited to lead the opposition front against the BJP,” he said.

He said that despite raising the issues of infighting in the Assam Congress with the central leadership, no action was taken.

Bora joined the TMC days after he lost the Rajya Sabha election in Assam amid cross-voting.

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