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Home > News > PTI

Mamata's call for 'grand alliance' suffers jolt

December 18, 2005 19:19 IST

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's call to form a 'grand anti-Communist Party of India-Marxixt alliance' for the coming assembly elections in West Bengal on Sunday suffered a serious setback with state Congress President Pranab Mukherjee declining her invitation to share the dais with Bharatiya Janata Party President L K Advani at a TC youth convention in Kolkata on Monday.

Mukherjee, also the Defence Minister, said, "Congress cannot share a platform with the BJP. It is not possible. We
are opposed to BJP." Mukherjee said he had rejected the Trinamool Congress chief's invitation to attend the TYC convention to be inaugurated by Advani. "I have communicated my decision to Banerjee."

Referring to BJP, he said, "It is a recognised political party. In Parliament we have to talk with the opposition also
on different issues. But how can I attend the convention of another political party?" When asked for his reaction to Banerjee's call for a one-to-one contest in the assembly elections to defeat the CPI(M) in the hustings, the PCC chief said "this suggestion is faulty."

Earlier, during the day, on his arrivalin KolkataAdvani told reporters "Mamtaji invited me to attend the TYC convention while she was in Delhi and I will attend the meeting on Monday."

Advani declined comment on the 'grand alliance' proposal comprising TC, BJP and Congress, saying, "Whatever I have to say, I will say at the TYC convention." Advani said that he was looking forward to the formation of a 'true government' by the people afterthe 2006assembly elections.

He said people in the state had a chance to elect a 'real government' of their choice in the next election which
would be fought jointly by the BJP and TC. Mamata has justified her call saying when her party had not questioned the CPI-M support to Congress to run the government at the Centre, why did it raise the issue of "our continuation in the NDA."

"I have given a call to all anti-CPI-M parties to unite to prevent division in opposition votes to oust the ruling Left Front," she said.

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