Kolkata, Jan 9: Taking the spat with ally Congress into the open for the first time by holding a public rally, Trinamool Congress today bluntly asked it to choose its manner of exit from the alliance in West Bengal.
“Some of them (Congress leaders) are saying that the party does not exit from the back door, but the main entrance. We are telling them all doors are open for them to go,” Trinamool Congress Secretary-General Partha Chatterjee told the rally in a dig at the statement by Mamata-baiter Congress MP Deepa Dasmushi.
Claiming that the Congress was utilising the image of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for its political survival, Chatterjee, the industry and commerce minister said “If they have the guts let them face elections without Mamata's photo and prove that they can win on their own.”
Alleging that Congress and CPI(M) had ganged up against the chief minister to stall development in agriculture and industry in the state initiated by her, Chatterjee said “Congress must declare clearly whether it will side with the CPI(M) or remain with the Trinamool. We will not tolerate duplicity.”
Stating that Congress was never serious in fighting the CPI(M), he said “Where was the party in 1998 when the Trinamool Congress was born? Trinamool was formed to oust the CPI(M) from power as the Congress was never serious in taking on the Marxists with which it had conspired.”
Chatterjee alleged that when the chief minister was arranging cheques for farmers to purchase paddy, the Congress and CPI(M) were trying to ensure that the funds did not reach the beneficiaries.
“Congress is now shedding crocodiles for support price for farmers. But when the previous CPI(M) government snatched away farmers land in Singur and Nandigram, it was Mamata Banerjee who stood beside the farmers.” The chief minister who had on Saturday dared the Congress to quit the alliance in the state did not attend the rally, though the Trinamool top brass including several MPs were present.
Union minister Sudip Bandyopadhyay reminded the Congress that the Trinamool Congress with 19 MPs was the second largest ally of the UPA government.
“Congress should not forget that it does not have 273 MPs in the Lok Sabha. It should not think that what it dictates has to be followed,” he said.
Underlining that all decisions had to be taken in consultation with allies, Bandyopadhyay said, the Trinamool Congress would continue to oppose any decision of the UPA government which went against the interests of the people.
He said that stand of the party opposing the provisions of the Lokayukta in the Lokpal bill had been supported by all parties.
He pointed out that the price of the petrol had been reduced 15 days after the last hike following opposition from the Trinamool Congress.
“Trinamool Congress may be a regional party, but it is heading towards being a national party.” Taking a swipe at Deepa Dasmunshi, the wife of ailing Congress leader P R Dasmunshi, who was crtical of TC,Bandyopadhyay said “She should hold the red flag instead”.