Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s words signalled a rift in the opposition alliance when it comes to seat-sharing across states with dominant regional parties. (Image: PTI/File)
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said his party is sure that the TMC will not work out a fair seat-sharing formula in Bengal for the Lok Sabha elections as that could be an obstacle for PM Narendra Modi
West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Wednesday hit out at chief minister Mamata Banerjee and said her “real intention” has been revealed, which was to “serve” Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said his party is sure that the Trinamool Congress will not work out a fair seat-sharing formula in the state for the Lok Sabha elections as that could be an obstacle to Banerjee’s “true purpose”.
Both the TMC and the Congress are part of the INDIA bloc, but Chowdhury’s words signalled a rift in the opposition alliance when it comes to seat-sharing across states with dominant regional parties. In fact, in the run-up to the recently held assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, the grand old party got into a tussle with the Samajwadi Party over the same issue with Akhilesh Yadav using strong words to express his displeasure — and, at one point, even threatening to leave the alliance.
Chowdhury, however, said it is not for him to decide about the number of seats the Congress will be contesting from in Bengal, as that decision lies with high command. But, he made it clear that he will not be contesting the polls on “Mamata’s pity”.
“The party’s high command will decide this (seat sharing). I have nothing to do with this. I don’t want to contest in the election by taking help from anyone,” he said, adding that the two seats offered by the TMC already have Congress MPs as incumbents.
VIDEO | “Party’s high command will decide this (seat sharing). I have nothing to do with this. I don’t want to contest in the election by taking help from anyone,” says Congress leader @adhirrcinc on the INDIA alliance’s seat-sharing. pic.twitter.com/6dVaLwtt96— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) January 4, 2024
He added: “The real intention of Mamata Banerjee is out. They are saying that they (TMC) will give two seats (to Congress) in West Bengal. Those seats already have Congress MPs. What new are they giving us? We won these two seats by defeating Mamata Banerjee and the BJP. What favour are they doing to us? Who will trust her (Mamata Banerjee)?
Chowdhury further said it is Banerjee who needs the Congress to win while the Congress is capable of winning more seats on its own. “It is Mamata who needs Congress to win… Congress can fight and is capable of winning more seats on its own. We will show. We don’t need to keep these two seats on Mamata’s pity…” he said.
According to a report published by India Today, sources in the TMC have said the dominant or the ruling party in the state should have the final say when it comes to seat-sharing. At the same time, the TMC also reiterated its choice of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge as the INDIA bloc convener instead of Bihar CM and JD(U) boss Nitish Kumar.
Responding to the Congress leader’s remarks on seat-sharing, the TMC hit back saying he is “behaving like a BJP person”. The regional party said it does not need anyone to fight the BJP but Banerjee is fully cooperating with the main spirit for the sake of the alliance.
“Adhir Chowdhury is behaving like a BJP person. In the 2021 assembly polls, the TMC fought the battle alone but Adhir Chowdhury’s party fought in alliance with CPM and got zero. What is he talking about? The TMC doesn’t need anybody to fight the BJP, but for the sake of INDIA alliance, our leader Mamata Banerjee is fully cooperating with the main spirit. But, the Congress is playing a double-faced game,” said senior TMC leader Kunal Ghosh.