Kolkata, Nov 20: The war of words between allies Congress and Trinamool Congress escalated today with Union minister Jairam Ramesh asserting his party has not taken VRS or ‘sanyas' from West Bengal and will not take unsolicited advice from anyone but continue to speak its mind on issues concerning the state.
“Congress is a political party and not an NGO. We have not taken (political) sanyas. The party has not taken VRS from the state,” he told a panchayati raj conference here amid cheers from party workers who thronged the venue, Netaji Indoor Stadium, in large numbers.
“We are aware of the Lakshman Rekha. We will not cross the Lakshman Rekha. But the Congress will not take unsolicited advice from anyone,” he said while noting that Congress was with Trinamool Congress at the Centre as well as in West Bengal.
“We have been in political power at the Centre and in some states. The Congress is the only party whose flag flies in all villages of the country. We are in the opposition in some states. In Tamil Nadu, we have been in the opposition for 40 years, but our party flag flies high there,” he said.
Reacting to his comments, Trinamool leader and Union minister Sudip Bandyopadhyay, said, “...These are wild allegations. There is no truth in these. And if there is something they can straightaway draw the attention of our party leaders. Why processions are being held in the state?” Ramesh's comments came two days after Banerjee issued a fresh ultimatum to the Congress to decide whether or not it wanted to stay with the Trinamool Congress.
An angry Banerjee had made the remark irked by a protest rally by Youth Congress taken out from Hazra near her residence in South Kolkata against alleged attacks on party workers by Trinamool activists.
WBPCC president Pradip Bhattacharya told PTI, “We are not indulging in anti-government activities. Congress workers are being attacked by the Trinamool Congress. We are only highlighting this.”
Congress had then sought to play down her threat saying if there are any problems in the alliance with the Trinamool, it will be sorted out.
Trinamool is the second largest constituent of the Congress-led UPA having 22 members in the Lok Sabha. Congress is part of her government in the state. There have been growing strains in the relations between the Congress and the Trinamool. Only recently, Banerjee had threatened to withdraw support to the Centre if it failed to roll back the hike in petrol prices.