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 "No Tie-Up With Congress": Mamata Banerjee's Bengal Twist Stuns INDIA Bloc
Jan 24, 2024 03:40 pm

The Trinamool Congress will contest the elections for Bengal's 42 Lok Sabha seats on its own steam, and only consider a pan-India alliance with the Congress after results are declared, a furious Mamata Banerjee declared  Ms Banerjee's words deliver what appears to be a final blow to hopes the two parties - widely seen as important members of the INDIA opposition bloc - will reach any agreement. "I had no discussions with the Congress. I have always said that in Bengal, we will fight alone. I gave them (the Congress) many proposals... but they rejected them. I am not concerned about what will be done in the (rest of the) country... but we are a secular party and, in Bengal, we alone will defeat BJP." In further signs of fraying tempers, she also hit out at Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and his 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', which is expected to enter Bengal on Thursday but might skip Kolkata. "They are coming to my state... but did not have courtesy to inform me, even though I am part of the INDIA bloc. So there is no relations with me, as far as Bengal is concerned," she told reporters. Ms Banerjee has a good rapport with Congress matriarch Sonia Gandhi, but her ties with Mr Gandhi are seen as strained. She has made it clear, earlier too, she is against allowing her 'ally' to contest in Bengal. "INDIA will be present in India (but) in Bengal the Trinamool Congress will fight. In Bengal it is only Trinamool that can teach the BJP a lesson. It can show the country the path to victory..." she had said. Minutes later the Congress responded through comms boss Jairam Ramesh. Mr Ramesh, who is with Rahul Gandhi and the yatra in Assam, said his party "cannot imagine INDIA bloc without Mamataji". Mr Ramesh insisted "all INDIA partners will unitedly fight Lok Sabha polls in Bengal". Ms Banerjee's announcement has drawn a scathing jibe from the BJP's Amit Malviya, who called it a "sign of desperation". "Unable to hold her political ground, Mamata Banerjee wants to fight all seats, in the hope that she can still be relevant, after the polls..." the BJP's IT Cell boss The Trinamool vs Congress squabble over seat-sharing, and the larger picture of how INDIA might defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP, has rumbled on for weeks with no apparent resolution, with neither side willing to back down. The Congress has, so far, ignored deadlines to close a deal.  Ms Banerjee criticised the Congress' "unjustified" demand for 10-12 Lok Sabha seats in her state; she had offered two, pointing to its' abysmal record. It won four seats in 2014 and only two in 2019. A senior Trinamool leader, on condition of anonymity, told news agency PTI, "(Ms Banerjee) said, 'Don't think about seat-sharing with Congress'... she said she offered two seats but they demanded 10-12". Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh last week warned the Congress against "unjustified bargaining".