Being a coalition partner of the Congress at the Centre need not be a deterrent for Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party elsewhere.
Konthoujam Sarat of the Trinamool Congress on Thursday won the Konthoujam by-election to the Manipur legislative assembly. It was the first election victory of the Trinamool Congress in the state.
Last year, it had won five assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh. In both elections, Trinamool candidates were directly contesting Congress nominees.
Although Banerjee is obsessed with the upcoming Bengal elections where she expects an 'Egypt-like revolution"' she thanked the people of Manipur for her party's victory.
Banerjee thinks her pet slogan maa-mati-manush (mother, land and human beings) for Bengal has also done wonders in faraway Manipur.
"I want to thank the people of Manipur. Our candidate won because of the blessings of ma, maati and manush. We had also won in Arunachal Pradesh and these seats are adding to our strength," Banerjee said.
While she bypassed the question of how a United Progressive Alliance partner joined hands with the BJP, the Congress also refused to read much into it.
"These local adjustments have happened earlier as well. In Goa, we have fought against the combination of our alliance partner (Nationalist Congress Party) combining with the BJP," said Congress spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi.
The Trinamool candidate in Manipur defeated Congress's S Ranjan by 651 votes. The BJP did not contest in this seat and helped the Trinamool nominee.
This can act as a pointer to another National Democratic Alliance partner, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United, which was trying for a seat adjustment with the Trinamool for the forthcoming elections in Bengal.