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A day after Mamata Banerjee drilled what seemed to be the final nail in the Congress coffin by negating the presence of UPA, Congress veteran Kapil Sibal extended an olive branch to the West Bengal chief minister, saying “without the Congress, UPA will be a body without a soul”.

Taking to Twitter, Sibal said it was time to show opposition unity after Banerjee gave a call for a “strong alternative” comprising “forces who are willing to fight it out on the field against fascist forces in the country”.

“What UPA? There is no UPA anymore. We will sit and decide on how to form a new block,” Banerjee said on Wednesday afternoon with NCP chief Sharad Pawar standing by her side following her meeting with the leader at his south Mumbai bungalow, which lasted for about an hour and 10 minutes. Abhishek Banerjee, Trinamool’s national general secretary, was also present at the meeting.

Training guns on the Congress, Banerjee told reporters outside Pawar’s residence, “We want to have a united opposition. But we cannot do that with a party which is not willing to fight it out on the field.”

Earlier in the day, she made an oblique remark against top Congress leaders, saying: “If you stay in foreign countries half the time, when will you do politics in India? You should be continuously attached with political activities.”

The blow hot, blow cold relationship between the TMC and Congress started since Banerjee met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to cobble together an alliance to take on the BJP behemoth in 2024. However, a string of leaders jumping ship from the Congress to the Trinamool soured the camaraderie, with the Grand Old Party terming the TMC a party that could not be trusted.

Not one to mince words, the TMC too hit back at the Congress, saying it was not interested in putting up a fight against the BJP.

Clearly, the TMC has a plan to take on the BJP and the Congress is not a part of it. The Congress, too, is now slowly getting used to the idea of being eased out of the opposition space.

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