Updated January 24th, 2024 at 22:31 IST
INDI Alliance Over? After Mamata, AAP Snaps Ties With Congress
Punjab CM straight away ruled out any alliance with Congress in the state.
New Delhi: Facing back-to-back setbacks on Wednesday, it seems that the future of the INDI alliance is hanging in balance. Shortly after Mamata Banerjee's TMC decided to go solo in Bengal, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has now severed ties with the Congress in a move that could have significant implications ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha Election. In a double blow to the INDI alliance, the AAP has declared to contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. "The Aam Aadmi Party has shortlisted 40 candidates for the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. We are getting a survey done before finalising candidates," Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said today.
Mann said almost 40 candidates showed their interest in the Lok Sabha elections. “We discussed with the party's high command for the candidates. Punjab banega hero in Lok Sabha, it would be 13-0”, the Punjab CM said.
‘No Relationship With Congress’, Says Mamata
Earlier in the day, Mamata had announced that her party would contest all 42 seats alone in the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024. “I had given them (Congress) a proposal (on seat sharing) but they refused it at the outset. Our party has now decided to go alone in Bengal,” Banerjee said amid the seat-sharing tussle between the Congress and the TMC. The CM also asserted that she has not spoken to anyone in Congress on the seat-sharing issue. The TMC boss also said the party will have no relationship with the Congress in the state.
The Bengal Chief Minister also claimed she had not been informed of Rahul Gandhi's Nyay Yatra passing through Bengal. "They did not even bother to inform me that they would be coming to West Bengal as a matter of courtesy even though I am a part of the INDIA bloc. So there is no relation with me as far as Bengal is concerned" Mamata Banerjee said.
"We will decide on what to do at the all-India level. We are a secular party. We will do whatever we can to defeat the BJP. The alliance does not comprise any one party. We have said that they should fight in some states and the regional parties should be left to fight alone in the other states. They should not interfere" she added.
What Triggered Tension Between TMC and Congress
According to sources, the TMC's offer of two seats to the grand old party based on its 2019 Lok Sabha election performance, triggered tension among them, as the arrangement was deemed insufficient. The CPI(M)-led Left Front, Congress, and the TMC are part of the 28-party INDIA bloc.
Congress vs TMC
In a news conference on Tuesday Adhir Chowdhury claimed that in the 2011 elections, Mamata Banerjee came to power with the mercy of Congress. "This time, the elections will not be fought at the mercy of Mamata Banerjee. The Congress defeated the BJP and TMC in the two seats that Mamata Banerjee is leaving. The Congress party knows how to contest the elections. Mamta Banerjee is an opportunist; she came to power in 2011, with the mercy of Congress," the Congress MP said.
Rahul's Damage Control
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who is in Assam as part of his Nyay Yatra tried to contain the damage by insisting that he had a good relationship with the TMC supremo. "The negotiations on seat-sharing are underway, I don't want to comment here. But Mamata Banerjee is very close to me and our party. Sometimes our leaders say something, their leaders say something, and it goes on. It's a natural thing. Such comments won't matter and these are not things that are going to disrupt things," Rahul stated.
BJP Tears Into INDI Bloc
Hitting out at the INDIA bloc, West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said that the alliance is unnatural and not politically viable as the Congress, Left and the TMC are at loggerheads with one another in the state."This alliance is unnatural and not politically viable because, in West Bengal, Congress and CPM are fighting against Mamata Banerjee. A while ago, in the Panchayat elections, Congress and CPM were thrashed by TMC workers," Majumdar stated.
He asserted that though top leaders of the three parties met together and had cordial ties with one another the situation on the ground is much different. "If you had thought that with Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and Sitaram Yechuri having tea together, the alliance would be strong and the workers on the ground would get trashed and vote for TMC, that would not have happened. Mamata Banerjee knows the ground report and the state CPM and the state Congress were opposed to it," he said.
"The INDI alliance is such a boat that does not have anyone steering it. It neither has a leader nor any ideology...," he added lambasting the Opposition alliance.
Published January 24th, 2024 at 14:37 IST