While the Congress continued its efforts to keep Trinamool Congress (TMC) within the INDI Alliance, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday (31 January) asserted that the party will contest alone in the state.
"The Congress does not have even one MLA in the state assembly... I offered them two Lok Sabha seats, both in Malda, but they wanted more. So, I told them I will not share a single seat with them," Banerjee was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Reiterating that her main rival in Bengal, Communist Party of India (Marxist) is "controlling" INDI Alliance meetings, Banerjee said, "CPI(M) is their leader... have they forgotten the tortures of the CPI(M)?"
She added, "I will never forgive the CPI(M). I will also not forgive those who support the CPI(M)... because by doing so they actually support the BJP. I have seen that in the last panchayat elections."
Stating that she has "no objection" to anyone contesting the election from the family of former Congress stalwart from Malda, the late Gani Khan Chowdhury, Banerjee asserted that the TMC will also contest there.
"There are some parties which start chirping like cuckoos at the time of elections... They (Congress) will fight along with the CPI(M), to strengthen the BJP... only the TMC is capable of politically fighting the BJP in the state," she said.
Banerjee's assertions come days after Nitish Kumar's exit from the INDI Alliance. With these developments, INDI Alliance gets very weak in West Bengal and Bihar, while in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party is making unilateral decisions.
On Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's claims of stone-pelting on Rahul Gandhi's car during Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Malda, Banerjee said, "I checked what exactly happened and found that the incident occurred in Katihar, not in Bengal."
Stating that the car entered Bengal with the glass already broken, she condemned the attack and called it "a drama". Congress clarified later that there was no stone-pelting, the glass broke due to sudden application of brakes.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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