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Mamata's threat: Congress is not worried

Last updated on: December 23, 2010 16:44 IST

Mamata's threat: Congress is not worried

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The Congress party on Thursday sought to downplay Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee's remarks on alliance, saying she was only raising the issue of misuse of central forces in West Bengal, which she has the right to do.

"What she might have said is about the misuse of the central forces there, with which we are also equally concerned... She has never said that she would quit on that issue," party in-charge for West Bengal affairs K Keshava Rao said.

The senior Congress leader stressed "she has never said she would quit, she has never given any threat...there is no question of rift between us (Congress and Trinamool Congress).

Rao's remarks came on Banerjee's comments on Wednesday night on alliance with Congress that she had not said that her party would contest the West Bengal assembly elections on its own, but it was for the ally to decide.

She had also said that she was ready to quit if she cannot prove that the CPI-M was misusing central security forces brought for anti-Maoist operations in West Bengal.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"The CPI-M is misusing central forces. I would have nothing to say if the central forces were used against Maoists. If I cannot prove that the central forces are being misused by the CPI-M, I am ready to quit. Will the CPI-M government also do so," the Trinamool Congress chief had said.

Banerjee said that she had met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and apprised them about the CPI-M's "terror tactics".

Agreeing with Mamata's contention on the misuse of central forces in the CPI-M ruled West Bengal, the Congress leader said, "They are being misused. So everybody has the right to talk about the misuse of central forces. She might have spoken more emphatically about her concern."

On seat-sharing talks, Rao said, "We (Congress and TC) are in alliance. Mamata Banerjee is a minister in the UPA government. We will discuss the issue after some time."



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Sending a tough message, Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee had on Monday said, "We are for alliance. But we are not for the Siliguri model alliance (when Cong formed the board in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation with CPI-M's help last year)."

"If there is alliance, we will welcome it. If not, we are prepared for election if it is held tomorrow," he had said.

WBPCC President Manas Bhunia was quick to respond stating that the Trinamool Congress cannot defeat the Left Front on its own.

"We are for an alliance. But if alliance is broken, we cannot be held responsible," Bhunia had said putting the ball in the Trinamool Congress court.

The Trinamool Congress supremo last night clarified that she did not say her party would contest the assembly election on its own. "But, our options are open. We are a regional party, Congress is the bigger party. They have to decide," Banerjee had said.



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Veteran Left leader and All India Forward Bloc General Secretary Ashok Ghose said the Congress had no other option, but to ally with the Trinamool Congress.

"Congress has to ally with Trinamool Congress which is the second largest ally of UPA. For one state, Congress will not risk their government at the Centre," he said in Kolkata.

Also, there is an apparent difference of opinion in the state Congress leadership on the issue of alliance with Trinamool Congress, with Bhunia and party MP Deepa Dasmunshi adopting a hardline.

Dasmunshi had stated at the recent Congress plenary in Delhi that a tie up with the Trinamool should not be at the cost of the party.

Others like former PCC working president Pradip Bhattacharya were for alliance with the Trinamool Congress in the crucial assembly poll which are barely a couple months away.

"When winds of change are blowing across the state, the people will not forgive us if the alliance snaps," he said.



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