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We Will Not Bow Our Head But Hold Hands With Trinamool, Says Rahul

Kolkata : Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thursday  made it clear that his party favoured an alliance with Mamata Banerjee in next year's Assembly elections, but "we are not going to bow our head".
PTI September 16, 2010 14:33 IST
PTI
Kolkata : Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thursday  made it clear that his party favoured an alliance with Mamata Banerjee in next year's Assembly elections, but "we are not going to bow our head".

"We have a partnership with Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. We are going to hold hands with Mamata Banerjee. She is a senior leader. She has worked with my father. I respect her. However, we are not going to bow our head. We will do whatever we do with dignity and respect," he told a press conference here.  

He was plied with a number of questions on the subject in the wake of his remarks on an alliance with respect during his tour of the state last two days.

"We respect her and we will continue to have that partnership. If we have partnership, it should a partnership of respect. I have said this everywhere. We have partnerships in many states," he said.  

To a query on what he meant by respect, Rahul replied "Bengalis do know what respect is."  

When told that Banerjee was critical of Central government policies, Rahul said, "To say that she has been opposing every UPA policy is unfair. She has been opposing a few policies. She has a right of opinion. We are a different party. We are sensitive to differences.  

"We don't have any problem with differences of opinion. Congress is a large party. We have differences there also. Differences of opinion and disrespect are two different things."  

He, however, said that the views of the Congress and Trinamool Congress were similar. "In general ours and Trinamool Congress' views are similar. We and the TC both fight for the interest of the poor."

Reiterating that Congress was in partnership with Mamata Banerjee, Rahul said, "We will together fight the Left Front in Bengal. Left Front is the biggest problem in Bengal. There is a Bengal of LF where you can beat and steal from anybody. Another Bengal is with the Bengalis."

He said that the present government in the state "was blinded by a dead ideology, which has failed worldwide, including Cuba."

"Even the Chinese are astounded about what is happening in West Bengal. When I go to China they ask me, what is happening in West Bengal. These are not small leaders, they are the senior leadership. The energy of West Bengal has been tied by this ideology.

"What Bengal needs today is to get back to the path of development. I still believe the old saying that what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow," he said.

Asked about the reported remarks of Mamata Banerjee describing Rahul as a "seasonal bird", Rahul replied "Do I look like a bird" and added "I don't think Mamata Banerjee was referring to me."  "Either way I am here to build Youth Congress. I am here to give the youth of Bengal a mechanism to raise their voice. It is not a short term job but a long term job," he said. PTI