Trinamool Congress on Friday said that the Congress was a “spent force” embroiled in infighting. In an editorial titled “Congress in deep freezer” in the party’s mouthpiece Jago Bangla, Trinamool said that the Congress did not have the zeal to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“The party is so bogged down by infighting that it hardly has time or energy to build an opposition,” the article read.

It added that India needed an alternative Opposition front led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “They are looking up to her to fill the vacuum,” it said. “She is presently the most popular opposition face in the country.”

The Trinamool Congress, which has been trying to expand nationally, has criticised Congress on many occasions in the recent months for being unable to counter the BJP.

In September, the Trinamool Congress had said that Congress needed to get out of the “armchair and hit streets” as the BJP cannot be defeated “by comfort of sitting in their homes”.

Besides, several Congress leaders have recently broken ranks to join the Trinamool Congress. In November alone, 12 Congress leaders from Meghalaya, including former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, had joined Trinamool Congress. Sangma said that the Congress had failed to play the role of the main Opposition party in the country.

As recently as on Wednesday, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had said that “a strong alternative” was needed to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party from power. The West Bengal chief minister was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s home in Mumbai.

Responding to a reporter who asked if an Opposition alliance could be formed without the Congress, Banerjee had said: “[We] cannot do anything about those who can’t fight.”

Another reporter then asked Banerjee if Pawar should be made the chairman of the United Progressive Alliance. To this, Banerjee replied: “What UPA? There is no UPA now.”

The UPA had been when a Congress-led alliance came to power in 2004.

On Thursday, political strategist Prashant Kishor, in an apparent jibe at Rahul Gandhi, said that Congress’ leadership was not the “divine right” of an individual. Kishor is considered instrumental in Trinamool’s success in the West Bengal Assembly elections and the party’s forays in states like Tripura and Goa.