Kolkata: In what appears to be a new political equation on the horizon, the Congress on Sunday reached out to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, supporting her claim that her MP nephew Abhishek Banerjee was allegedly snooped upon by the BJP government at the Centre with the Israeli spyware Pegasus.
The Congress sent the message of solidarity to the Trinamul Congress supremo a day before she flies to New Delhi on a four-day visit and is expected to meet key Opposition leaders to discuss the formation of a united front against the BJP.
Ms Banerjee will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 28, apparently to push for the speedy passage of her government’s Vidhan Parishad plan in both Houses of Parliament and dispatch of more Covid-19 vaccines from the Centre to her government, among other issues.
This will be the Trinamul chief’s first meeting with Mr Modi after the brief one on May 28 on the Cyclone Yaas devastation, which triggered a huge controversy about protocol violation by her and the then state chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay.
Posting a photo of Ms Banerjee’s nephew on its Twitter handle in the afternoon, the Congress stated: “PM Modi took the adage, ‘keep your enemies closer’ a little too far. #PegasusSnoopgate.”
Attacking the BJP, it added: “Aap chronology samajhiye. Target of Pegasus spyware. Who? Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of Mamata Banerjee. When? 2021. Why? West Bengal elections. Modi’s insecurities are endless.”
Reading the message between the lines, Trinamul Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien retweeted it promptly with the hashtag KhelaHobe.
The Congress’ signal to Ms Banerjee came close on the heels of her call on July 21 for a united Opposition front against the BJP and her plans to invite UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and all other major Opposition leaders to a grand rally in Kolkata once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
Significantly, Congress leader P. Chidambaram had watched the live broadcast of Ms Banerjee’s virtual speech, which was organised by the TMC at the Constitution Club in New Delhi, on the occasion of its annual Shahid Diwas event. In West Bengal, the Congress has already softened its stand towards the TMC.
Recently Berhampore MP and state Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury had declared that his party would not field any candidate against Ms Banerjee at the Bhowanipore seat during the forthcoming Assembly byelection.