The division within the Opposition's INDI Alliance in West Bengal became apparent on Thursday (4 January) when the Congress criticised Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mamata Banerjee for proposing only two out of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats for Congress.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Bengal Congress president, asserted that his party doesn't require Banerjee's pity and is capable of securing more seats independently.
"The real intention of Mamata Banerjee is out. They are saying that they (TMC) will give two seats (to Congress) in West Bengal. Those seats already have Congress MPs. What new are they giving us? We won these two seats by defeating Mamata Banerjee and the BJP. What favour are they doing to us?" he said.
He stated that the Trinamool has a greater need for the Congress.
"Who can place their trust in Mamata Banerjee? It's Mamata who requires the support of the Congress to secure a victory... The Congress has the ability to compete and potentially win more seats independently. We will demonstrate this. There's no necessity for us to rely on Mamata's pity to retain these two seats," he further stated.
TMC has harshly criticised the Congress for their comment.
"Adhir Chowdhury is acting akin to a BJP member," stated TMC leader Kunal Ghosh. He reminded that in the 2021 Assembly polls, TMC single-handedly faced the battle, while Chowdhury's party formed an alliance with CPM, yet failed to secure any victories.
Ghosh questioned Chowdhury's criticisms, asserting that TMC doesn't require any assistance to combat BJP. However, in the interest of the INDI Alliance, their leader Mamata Banerjee is offering full cooperation. Ghosh accused Congress of exhibiting two-faced tactics in the political game.
In the previous month, Banerjee subtly indicated her desire for the Trinamool Congress to independently compete in the Lok Sabha elections. She had communicated to her party members that the TMC alone has the capability to give the BJP a run for their money in the state.
She asserted that solely TMC has the ability to give BJP a lesson in West Bengal, thereby setting an example for others nationwide. She emphasised that no other party is capable of achieving this. Furthermore, she added that the INDI Alliance will participate in the electoral competition for the remaining seats.
The BJP demonstrated an impressive performance in West Bengal by securing 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019. However, the party couldn't meet its anticipated performance in the 2021 Bengal assembly elections, where the TMC achieved a resounding victory.
Banerjee emphasised last week the importance of West Bengal remaining under the control of the TMC. She warned that if they win fewer seats, the harassment from the BJP would significantly increase.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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