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Mamata hints at ending Bengal alliance, Congress hits back

Saturday July 21, 2012 08:38:08 PMIANS

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday indicated the end of her and Trinamool Congress's alliance with the Congress in the state, flatly asserting that her party was capable of going it alone. The Congress hit back, terming it a "betrayal", and said the people had voted for the alliance.

"We are capable of going it alone in the state. We are self-sufficient. We are not dependent on anybody. We will fight alone in Bengal. We don't survive on anybody's mercy. This is our own struggle. We have the majority to run the government," said Banerjee while addressing a public rally here.

However, she categorically said her party's alliance with the Congress at the centre - where the two are partners in the United Progressive Alliance government - would remain "so long we are treated with respect and dignity".

The state Congress was quick to counter-attack.

"We don't have any problem in going it alone and fighting it alone in the state. Earlier, we have said the same thing to the party high command. But by saying that they don't need the Congress, they (Trinamool) have not only betrayed the rules of alliance, but also the people of Bengal who have voted for the alliance and not for Trinamool," said state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya.

An infuriated Bhattacharya also took a dig at the Trinamool leadership, noting: "Banerjee should have shown the guts by going against the alliance before last year's assembly polls."

Although the Congress and Trinamool have an alliance in the state and at the centre, they have often locked horns over various issues from presidential election, Lokpal bill, foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail and others.

"There are some state Congress leaders, who sit with heavy make-up in the studios of various CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) backed television channels and give lectures criticising our government. As if we are running the government at their mercy," said Banerjee at the rally.

"No, they should know they are here because of us. Their (state Congress) only job is to abuse us," he added.

Recently the relationship between the Congress and the Trinamool hit an all-time low in the state after Banerjee decided to oppose the ruling United progressive Alliance's presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee. An infuriated Congress leadership went on an all-out attack, terming her as anti-Bengali.

Three days before the presidential poll, Banerjee changed her stance and supported Mukherjee, but the gulf between the two parties has already widened.

On many occasions in the past, the Trinamool leadership has termed the state Congress as the B-team of the CPI-M, which heads the state's opposition Left Front, and alleged that the Congress was working covertly with the Marxists to sabotage various developmental works across the state.

The state Congress leaders, on the other hand, have time and again attacked the Trinamool-led state government for its alleged failure to contain violence and tackle other issues.





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