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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mamata Banerjee Rejects Congress’ Expectations for Seat-Sharing in West Bengal

IndiaMamata Banerjee Rejects Congress' Expectations for Seat-Sharing in West Bengal

The Congress party’s optimism regarding a seat-sharing agreement with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to resolve the stalemate within the opposition bloc INDIA in West Bengal faced a setback as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her intent to unite regional parties after elections to strategize government formation at the Centre.

Despite the Congress’ efforts to reconcile with the TMC following a seat-sharing deadlock in West Bengal, the party’s general secretary, Jairam Ramesh, remained hopeful about reaching a “mutually acceptable” arrangement with the TMC, despite the latter’s reluctance to concede seats in the state.

Speaking at a government program in Nadia district, Mamata Banerjee asserted that her party was keen on forming an alliance with the Congress for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the state. However, she claimed that it was the Congress that rejected her proposal.

“We wanted an alliance, but the Congress did not agree. They have joined forces with the CPI(M) to assist the BJP in the elections… We are the ones who can fight the BJP in the country,” she added.

Expressing confidence in the BJP’s defeat in the elections, Banerjee stated that after the polls, the TMC, along with other regional parties, would decide on the strategy to form the government at the Centre.

“If people are with us, then we promise, we will win Delhi (Lok Sabha elections). After the elections, we will do this (form the government) by taking all the regional parties together,” she said.

Accusing the Congress and Left of collaborating to aid the BJP in the upcoming elections, Banerjee highlighted the failure of seat-sharing discussions with the Congress, attributing it to alleged interference from the Left.

“Just remember Bengal will show the path to win Delhi (Lok Sabha polls). We will win Delhi. We will fight alone in Bengal and defeat the BJP,” she asserted.

Her remarks followed her recent announcement that her party would contest all 42 Lok Sabha seats alone in the state, significantly impacting the opposition bloc INDIA in West Bengal.

Taking potshots at Rahul Gandhi’s ongoing yatra in Murshidabad, Banerjee questioned, “Whom will you choose, the one who stays throughout the year, or the one who comes like a seasonal bird?” referring to her past characterization of Rahul Gandhi during his 2010 visit to West Bengal.

Despite Mamata Banerjee’s declaration that she would not allocate any seats to the Congress, alleging its alignment with the CPI(M) to bolster BJP’s prospects in the state, Jairam Ramesh expressed confidence in getting the TMC along in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal.

“I have heard about her statement, but it reflects her opinion, not the consensus of the alliance. Both the TMC and the Congress share the common goal of defeating the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections,” Ramesh remarked.

While the CPI(M), Congress, and TMC form part of the 27-party opposition bloc INDIA, in West Bengal, the Congress has aligned with the CPI(M) against TMC and BJP.

In the 2019 elections, TMC secured 22 seats, Congress won two, and the BJP bagged 18 seats in the state. Tensions escalated when TMC’s offer of two seats, based on Congress’ 2019 Lok Sabha election performance, was deemed insufficient.

The TMC had previously allied with the Congress in the 2001 assembly polls, 2009 Lok Sabha elections, and the 2011 assembly polls, leading to the ousting of the CPI(M)-led Left Front government of 34 years.

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