Updated May 2nd, 2024 at 02:14 IST

Why Did Mamata-Led TMC Ditch INDI Bloc to Go Solo? Bengal Minister Makes Explosive Revelation

WB Minister Firhad Haqim alleged that Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's efforts to sabotage Mamata Banerjee's leadership led TMC to contest LS polls solo.

Reported by: Digital Desk
West Bengal Minister Firhad Hakim accused Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury | Image:X/ Firhad Hakim
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Kolkata: TMC leader Firad Haqim made startling revelations about the party's decision to break away from the INDI Bloc and contest the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal independently. Haqim pointed fingers at Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, alleging his clandestine allegiance to the BJP and his efforts to sabotage Mamata Banerjee's leadership.

Haqim minced no words as he accused Chowdhury of being a "BJP agent," accusing him of consistently aiding the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in his constituency by launching baseless attacks against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He emphasized that Chowdhury's actions played a pivotal role in TMC's decision to distance itself from the INDI Alliance in Bengal.

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Haqim stated during the interview, "The constant barrage of criticism and undermining of Mamata Banerjee by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury forced us to rethink our alliance strategy."

"His alignment with the BJP's agenda became increasingly evident, leaving us with no choice but to go solo in the elections," he further asserted.

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TMC called Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury the B-team of BJP

His party, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), went ahead calling Chowdhury, the "B-team" of the BJP. This came up after a purported video of the Congress leader went viral, wherein he allegedly stated that voting for the BJP is better than voting for the TMC. In the 8-second video clip of Chowdhury's speech from an election rally in West Bengal's Murshidabad, the sitting Congress MP and candidate from West Bengal's Baharampur was captured saying, "It's better to vote for the BJP than to vote for the TMC." However, the Congress has denied any such statement claiming that the video was "doctored" and has sought appropriate action against it.

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Earlier in the day, the TMC, while citing Chowdhury's continual criticism against the party, held him responsible for the breakdown of seat-sharing discussions with the Congress in West Bengal. Terming Chowdhury as “anti-Bengal”, the ruling party in the state called him the "eyes and ears of BJP in Bengal.

"Listen to how the B-Team member is openly asking people to vote for the BJP - a party that refused to release Bengal's rightful dues and deprived our people of their rights. Only a Bangla-Birodhi can campaign for the BJP, which has repeatedly insulted Bengal's icons. On May 13, people of Baharampur will give a befitting response to this betrayal!" the TMC said.

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For the INDIA bloc, time is ticking as the Lok Sabha elections approach and the alliance, instead of being able, to coordinate its activities across states is still struggling to figure out seat sharing. And the alliance’s problems in Bengal only seem to be mounting.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who has said in the past that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) contest the elections alone and accused the Congress, Left, and BJP of being part of a nexus has stepped up the attacks by claiming that she was not sure if the Congress would win even 40 Lok Sabha seats in the coming elections. The scathing assessment of the Bengal CM came even as Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and the party’s communications chief Jairam Ramesh keep insisting that the fractured relationship can still be repaired.

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Mamata Banerjee Decided to Contest Solo in Bengal

It all happened in the month of January this year, when Mamata Banerjee, while rebuffing efforts by the Congress’ national leadership to negotiate a seat-sharing agreement, announced that her party would contest the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal alone. The TMC supremo’s remark rattled the grand old party and sent political ripples in the INDI Alliance. This development ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in the beginning of the year came up after the seat-sharing proposals between the Congress and the TMC went haywire, despite several rounds of attempts.

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The Trinamool Congress party even went on to accuse the grand old party of making unjustified demands without acknowledging the ground reality in the state. In the meantime, amid all the efforts by the Congress’ national leadership to seal a deal in the state with the TMC, party MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury kept his stance to target the ruling party in the state on various occasions, which also led to the deepening of ditch between the two allies.

26 Opposition Parties Formed INDI Alliance in 2023 to Challenge NDA

Pertinently, as many 26 Opposition parties in the country, including the Congress and the TMC, came together on one stage to stitch together a grouping to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Opposition leaders named their newly formed alliance, as the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDI Alliance), reportedly on the recommendations made by Mamata Banerjee herself.

However, despite several rounds of meetings and negotiations, the INDI bloc parties failed to remain united in several states including states like West Bengal and Kerala, and constituents continued taking on each other in these states.

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Failed alliance in Bengal has paved way for 3-cornered contest

Meanwhile, the decision of the TMC to go alone in the parliamentary elections in the state, and not as part of the INDI Bloc, has paved the way for a three-cornered electoral contest, in which the TMC and the BJP stand poised to consolidate vote support.

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The Congress-Left combine, the third entity, will have the potential to eat into the votes of the TMC and the BJP, particularly in minority-dominated pockets and seats with narrow margins.

A triangular contest between the TMC, Congress-Left alliance, and the BJP was witnessed in West Bengal, where the TMC has 22 out of 42 seats in Lok Sabha, BJP 17, and Congress has 2 MPs. 
 

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Published May 2nd, 2024 at 02:14 IST