'Trinamool Congress acting like B team of the CPM'
Congress MP Deepa Dasmunshi's remarks on Wednesday that Trinamool Congress is acting as the 'B' team of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) threatened to further pull apart the two uneasy allies, seven months after they formed the government in West Bengal.
Dasmunshi's caustic observation, made at a party rally in Kolkata, came as a riposte to Mamata Banerjee's allegation on Tuesday that the Congress was colluding with the CPM to attack its party workers.
The Congress MP, wife of ailing Congress leader P R Dasmunshi, alleged that the Trinamool Congress was acting as a B team of the CPI(M) over FDI in retail and Lokpal Bill. The remarks came a day after the state Congress threatened to launch a statewide agitation on the issue of renaming Indira Bhavan.
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Image: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee
'Cong will be wiped out in WB if it is not associated with Trinamool'
The acrimony became bitter when Trinamool Congress minister Madan Mitra on Wednesday dared Congress MPs and MLAs to resign and seek a fresh mandate if "they have the guts".
The chief minister, however, on Wednesday excused herself from the exchange while speaking to reporters at the state secretariat.
"I will not make the state secretariat a political platform to reply (to Congress diatribe). If you have any question you can ask my party leaders Mukul Roy or Partha Chatterjee," she said, when a reporter drew her attention to Congress attack.
"If the Congress is not associated with the Trinamool Congress politically, the Congress in the state will be wiped out in West Bengal," Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, Hakim, said.
Mitra, who is sports minister, said, "If state Congress president Pradip Bhattacherjee, a Rajya Sabha member, and Irrigation Minister Manas Bhuniya, who have attacked our party today, have guts, let them resign and seek fresh mandate."
Deepa Dasmunshi was speaking at a sit-in demonstration organised by the state Congress demanding proper support price of the agricultural products and protesting the alleged move to rename Indira Bhavan in Kolkata after the Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.
At the rally, state Congress leaders took pains to brush off the Trinamool Congress chief's accusation that the party was colluding with the CPI(M) against the Trinamool and blocking roads and railway tracks daily and abusing her daily.
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'Trinamool Congress not following coalition dharma'
Manas Bhuniya, a prominent Congress leader, questioned why his party should be accused of joining hands with the CPI(M) if it opposed the state government's policies.
He said, "We are a party of 127 years. We follow the coalition dharma, but Trinamool Congress was not doing so." He said the chief minister should immediately request state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacherjee to sit for a meeting on the issues over which the Congress was agitating.
Congress leader from Murshidabad district and minister of state for parliamentary affairs Manoj Chakraborty said that if necessary, he was prepared to resign from the ministry but would not stop speaking out on issues concerning the people.
Apparently referring to Banerjee's statement that some people in the Congress were abusing her daily, Pradip Bhattacharya said, "Congress does not abuse anyone. But Trinamool Congress should not see it as a sign of weakness on the part of the Congress."
He said the state government should immediately order detailed investigations on how many farmers have committed suicide and the problems that drove them to take the extreme step.
Image: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee at a poll rally in West Bengal