24 Jan 2024

Mamata Banerjee's Statements Fuel Uncertainty Surrounding India Alliance in West Bengal

In the realm of West Bengal's political landscape, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress President Mamata Banerjee has unequivocally expressed her reluctance to allocate additional seats to the Congress party.

Banerjee, addressing the seat distribution issue on Wednesday, remarked, "Congress is conducting rallies in Bengal without informing us. As a member of the India alliance, they should notify us that they are entering our state. We are a secular party and will exert every effort to thwart the BJP."

This divergence in statements from the leaders of both parties has stirred speculation within political circles, casting doubts on the revival of the India alliance in the region.

Mamata Banerjee is sometimes hinting at contesting elections on all 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state on her own and sometimes accusing the Left Front of trying to control the agenda of the India Alliance.

Conversely, Congress has explicitly stated its refusal to collaborate with Mamata's party, accusing the TMC of clandestine coordination with the BJP. Intriguingly, Mamata herself has leveled similar accusations against both Congress and the Left Front.

The inflexible stances of these three entities have emerged as a significant impediment to the progress of the India alliance.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, TMC secured 22 seats, BJP won 18, and Congress clinched the remaining two. Last month, unconfirmed reports had come out that Mamata is ready to give only the two seats i.e. Baharampur and Malda South to Congress. The grand old party had won these two seats in the last Lok Sabha polls.  

Mamata had initially set a December 31 deadline for seat distribution, a deadline that has since lapsed.

We will contest  without the help of Mamata: Adhir 

On Tuesday, Congress state president Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary also hit back at Mamata, calling her an 'opportunist' and said that his party will contest the Lok Sabha elections without Mamata's help.

Speaking to reporters, he said, "We will contest elections without the help of Mamata. Congress knows the art of fighting elections on its own. Mamata Banerjee should remember that she came to power in Bengal only with the support of Congress."

However, despite Adhir Chaudhary's attacks on Mamata, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday in Assam, on a question from journalists, said, "I have a very close relationship with Mamata Banerjee. Our leaders sometimes say something. But these comments don't matter."

Rahul told that he has also invited Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar to join his yatra.

Political observers say that State President Adhir Chaudhary has been strongly opposing the alliance with Trinamool Congress in the past also. But the decision on alliance has been taken by the central leadership only.

Mamata wants to decide everything on her own terms

Adhir has been a staunch opponent of Mamata since the beginning. But it has become clear from Rahul Gandhi's comments yesterday that the central leadership is in no mood to give special importance to his statements on this issue. The central leadership is aware of its strengths and weaknesses in Bengal.

Analysts say the path of alliance in Bengal has always been difficult and confusing. Be it TMC's alliance with Congress or the Left Front. Such issues are decided till the last moment. 

But Mamata, being the biggest and ruling party here, wants to decide everything on her own terms. She is the supreme policy maker of her party, whereas for Congress and CPM, the decision has to be taken by the central leadership. In such a situation, Adhir Chaudhary's comments are meaningless.

Congress leaders also believe the same thing. A senior leader of the party, on the condition of anonymity, says, "Our organization is weak. In such a situation, the claim of contesting on more than five seats is meaningless. This time, if we save only our last two seats, it will be enough."

In his opinion, the central leadership will agree only on these two seats i.e. Baharampur and Malda South.

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