KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced that the Trinamool Congress will not form an alliance with the Congress for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal. The decision, which comes a day before the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra enters the state, marks a major change in political dynamics.
Banerjee said the Congress had rejected the proposal sent by the TMC, and reaffirmed its resolve to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ‘only’ in West Bengal. Speaking to reporters, she insisted, "I did not consult with the Congress. I don't care what happens in the state, but we are a secular party and we will defeat the BJP in Bengal."
The Chief Minister also revealed that he was not informed about Rahul Gandhi's Nyaya Yatra through Bengal, contradicting the Congress party's claim that allies from the Indian party had been invited. "They didn't even bother to inform me that they would be coming to West Bengal, so I have nothing to do with Bengal," Banerjee said.
Highlighting the breakdown in communication, she expressed her party's commitment to a nationwide strategy against the BJP. "We will decide on what to do at the all-India level. We are a secular party. The alliance does not comprise any one party. They should fight in some states, and regional parties should be left to fight alone in others. They should not interfere," she added.
The rift between the Trinamool Congress and the Congress widened as party chief Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary continued his verbal attacks on Banerjee. Chaudhary said Mamata Banerjee came to power in 2011 at the mercy of the Congress party and asserted that no elections would happen at her mercy this time.
In response, Rahul Gandhi, currently in Assam as part of his Nyay Yatra, attempted to downplay the tension, stating, "The negotiations on seat-sharing are underway. Mamata Banerjee is very close to me and our party. Such comments won't matter, and these are not things that are going to disrupt things."
According to reports, the Trinamool Congress is willing to give the Congress a maximum of three of the 42 seats in Bengal. In the 2019 elections, the Congress won two seats while the TMC won 22 seats, paving the way for a closely watched election battle in the country.