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Updated January 22nd, 2024 at 21:19 IST

'Unacceptable, Left Trying To Control Agenda': Mamata's Strong Words Hint at Rift in INDI Alliance

Despite proposing the name INDIA during the opposition bloc meeting, Banerjee highlighted her frustration with the Left attempting to assert control.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee at Sanhati Rally
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee at Sanhati Rally | Image:@AITCofficial/X
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Kolkata: In a significant development within the opposition INDI alliance in the state, internal discord over seat-sharing has taken center stage, with TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee expressing concerns about the Left's influence on the agenda of the alliance. Speaking at an all-faith rally in the city on Monday, Banerjee firmly stated her opposition to the Left Front, led by CPI(M), controlling the agenda of the INDIA bloc meeting.

Despite proposing the name INDIA during the opposition bloc meeting, Banerjee highlighted her frustration with the Left attempting to assert control. "I suggested the name INDIA during the opposition bloc meeting. But whenever I attend the meeting, I find the Left trying to control it. This is not acceptable. I cannot agree with those with whom I had fought for 34 years," she said.

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Banerjee also acknowledged attending INDI bloc meetings 'despite such insults' but emphasised her unwillingness to accept the Left's dominance. In a veiled reference to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's recent incident in Assam, Banerjee emphasized that merely visiting a temple is insufficient. 

"How many politicians today took on the BJP head-on? Somebody went to one temple and thought it was sufficient, but it was not. I am the only one who visited the temple, gurudwara, church, and mosque. I have been fighting for a long time. When the Babri Masjid issue (demolition) happened, and violence was taking place, I was on the streets." Banerjee's remarks came as she embarked on a symbolic journey of religious harmony, leading an all-faith rally that included visits to diverse places of worship, such as a temple, mosque, church, and gurdwara, aligning with the consecration ceremony of Ram temple in Ayodhya earlier in the day.

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The INDI alliance consists of the CPI(M)-led Left Front, Congress, and TMC, forming a formidable 28-party alliance. However, tensions have escalated in West Bengal, where the CPI(M) and Congress have aligned against the TMC and BJP.
Banerjee criticised the Congress, without explicitly naming them, for delaying seat-sharing discussions in the state. "I have the power and mass base to take on the BJP, but some people don't want to listen to us about seat sharing," she remarked, urging against giving seats to the BJP.

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This follows Banerjee's earlier assertion that the TMC is ready to independently contest all 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal if not given due importance, highlighting internal fissures within the INDI alliance. The TMC's offer of two seats based on Congress's 2019 Lok Sabha election victories has sparked tensions between the two parties.

State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a vocal TMC critic, said that his party wouldn't 'beg' for seats from the TMC. In the 2019 elections, TMC secured 22 seats, Congress won two, and BJP secured 18 seats in the state.
The ongoing discord has led to the TMC abstaining from the recent INDI alliance virtual meeting. The TMC had previously allied with the Congress in the 2001 assembly polls, the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, and the 2011 assembly polls, leading to the ousting of the CPI(M)-led Left Front government of 34 years.

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Published January 22nd, 2024 at 21:19 IST

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