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Widening Rifts In Congress-Trinamool Ties

Reflecting the growing strains in relations between the two United Progressive Alliance allies, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday criticised attempts of Trinamool Congress to marginalise Congress in West Bengal. "It would be wrong to
PTI May 26, 2010 9:32 IST
PTI
Reflecting the growing strains in relations between the two United Progressive Alliance allies, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday criticised attempts of Trinamool Congress to marginalise Congress in West Bengal.

"It would be wrong to believe that Congress would be reduced to a signboard organisation in Bengal. Insults to party supporters and activists should stop," Mukherjee, who heads the state Pradesh Congress Committee, said at an election rally without naming Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee.

The two parties recently decided to go it alone in the civic polls following break-down of seat adjustment talks between them.

Defending Congress party's position during seat-sharing talks with TC, Mukherjee said it was "irrational to equate civic polls with Lok Sabha election to reach a seat-sharing understanding".

His comments came on the heels of Banerjee dubbing Congress leaders as "Communist Party of India-Marxist agents" during the civic poll campaign.

"No parallel could be drawn between Lok Sabha polls and municipal polls. The civic polls are fought on local issues and political issues do not play a major role here," he said.

"I tried for an alliance this time too but it did not happen. What could be done," he asked, dismissing accusations that he scuppered the seat-adjustment in civic polls.

Noting that it would be wrong to say that TC got so many seats in Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal on its own strength, he remarked, "Congress also contributed immensely and the two parties won 25 seats (out of 42 seat)."

Mukherjee said the need for an alliance with TC to thwart BJP to come to power after Left Parties withdrew support from UPA government over Indo-US nuclear deal helped TC bag 19 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

Banerjee had kept 25 out of 141 seats in Kolkata to Congress, citing her party's performance in Lok Sabha polls but the latter refused to accept it and demanded 51 seats.

The two parties later decided to go it alone in the coming polls to Kolkata Municipal Corporation and 80 other towns. PTI