Kolkata: Dreading defeat in the next Assembly polls, Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday reached out to the CPI(M) and the Congress seeking their support to tackle the BJP’s rise in West Bengal. She said the three parties must come together to fight against the saffron surge unitedly, but clearly ruled out an alliance.
The West Bengal chief minister made the offer to the CPI(M) and the Congress while speaking in the state Assembly on Wednesday. During and after the Lok Sabha polls, she had vehemently blamed the two parties for helping the BJP win 18 Lok Sabha seats out of the state’s 42 seats.
Calculating the contribution of the CPI(M) and the Congress votebanks to the BJP’s rise in the state, Ms Banerjee desperately tried to turn the tables. But the CPI(M) instantly turned down her offer, while the Congress has kept the door ajar. Ms Banerjee told them: “I do not believe the CPI(M) and the Congress would destroy the country. I am praising you.”
She elaborated: “The BJP is destroying all democratic institutions. It is spreading communal fanaticism. The people of the state are witnessing what is happening at Bhatpara in North 24 Parganas. They now see what happens if you vote for the BJP. Except the BJP, all the other political parties here are honest.”
Ms Banerjee added: “I think all of us — Trinamul, Congress and CPI(M) — should come together in the battle against the BJP. But it does not imply we have to join hands politically. We can share the same platform on many common issues at the national level.” Rejecting her offer, CPI(M) MLA of Jadavpur Sujan Chakraborty alleged: “Tackling the BJP with the Trinamul is not possible in the state.”
He claimed: “It is the Trinamul which helped the BJP to grow here. Trinamul is a sinking ship. Please do not daydream that we wwill stand by Ms Banerjee. There is no alternative to the Left, though its lost some seats temporarily.” Congress MLA and Leader of the Opposition Abdul Mannan told Ms Banerjee: “The Congress and Left always have fought against communalism.”
He added: “You had joined hands with the BJP in 1998 after the Babri Masjid demolition. You had also sent flowers to Narendra Modi in 2003 after the Gujarat riots. The BJP is your root. We will think about your offer only after you admit your mistakes.”
Taking a potshot at Ms Banerjee, BJP leader Mukul Roy said: “She has finally admitted she cannot fight against the BJP alone here. That’s why she wants to join hands with the CPI(M) and the Congress.”