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As Rahul's BJNY Enters Bengal, I.N.D.I.A Alliance Falls Apart: Bhagwant Mann Deals Blow After Mamata

In recent developments, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) has decided to contest all 42 seats independently in Bengal, marking a setback for the INDI Alliance due to ongoing seat-sharing disputes with Congress. Simultaneously, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced that AAP will not ally with Congress in Punjab for the Lok Sabha elections, expressing confidence in winning all 13 seats independently.

As Rahul's BJNY Enters Bengal, I.N.D.I.A Alliance Falls Apart: Bhagwant Mann Deals Blow After Mamata

New Delhi: On Wednesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dealt a significant blow to the Congress and the opposition alliance 'I.N.D.I.A' by declaring that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) will independently contest all 42 seats in Bengal during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. This announcement aligns with the stance taken by Punjab Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Bhagwant Mann, who also revealed a similar decision. Addressing the ongoing seat-sharing discord between Congress and TMC, Mamata Banerjee stated, "I had initially proposed a seat-sharing arrangement to them (Congress), but they rejected it outright. Consequently, our party has resolved to participate in the elections independently in Bengal."

 

Mamata Banerjee's announcement was made on Wednesday, just a day before the commencement of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, into West Bengal. This timing adds significant weight to the unfolding political dynamics in the state. Expressing her stance on the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, Mamata Banerjee asserted that the Congress had not apprised her of the yatra's program in the state. She remarked, "As a matter of courtesy, did they (Congress) tell me that they are coming to Bengal for the visit? I am not aware of this."

 

The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, currently underway in Assam, is anticipated to enter West Bengal through Basirhat on January 25. Following a two-day halt on January 26-27, the yatra is scheduled to traverse Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, North Dinajpur, and Darjeeling before proceeding to Bihar on January 29. Re-entering West Bengal on January 31 via Malda, the yatra will traverse through Murshidabad, both considered strongholds of the Congress. Departing from the state on February 1, the yatra is expected to leave a significant political impact as it navigates through key regions in West Bengal.

 

In response to Mamata Banerjee's announcement, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh emphasized the importance of the opposition alliance 'I.N.D.I.A' stating that it cannot be conceived without West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. Ramesh clarified, "You have not read the entire statement of Mamata Banerjee. The entire statement is that we want to defeat BJP and will not take any step back to defeat BJP. With the same spirit, we (Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra) are entering West Bengal." The development leading to this situation unfolded when Mamata Banerjee, during a meeting with party leaders in Murshidabad, expressed dissatisfaction with the 'India' alliance, indicating that if due importance is not given, the Trinamool Congress would contest elections on all 42 seats in West Bengal. Without explicitly naming Congress and Left parties, she conveyed that some parties were not cooperating on seat sharing.

 

Rahul Gandhi responded to Mamata Banerjee's earlier statement, downplaying it as a regular occurrence in alliances. Meanwhile, West Bengal Congress President Adhir Ranjan Choudhary suggested that Mamata Banerjee is entitled to express her views, affirming that the Congress is focused on its own initiatives.The current rift between Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Congress in West Bengal emerged after Mamata Banerjee, in a meeting with party leaders in Murshidabad, expressed dissatisfaction with the INDI alliance. She indicated that if due importance is not given, TMC would contest all 42 seats in the state, without explicitly naming Congress and Left parties. Mamata claimed that certain parties were not cooperating on seat-sharing negotiations. In response to Mamata Banerjee's statement, Rahul Gandhi reacted strongly, characterizing such statements as routine in alliances. However, West Bengal Congress President Adhir Ranjan Choudhary took a more reserved stance, stating that Mamata Banerjee is entitled to express her views, and the Congress is focused on its own initiatives.

 

Choudhary has been consistently challenging the Bengal government on various issues, prompting counterattacks from the TMC. The ongoing exchange raised questions daily about the possibility of seat sharing between Congress and TMC in Bengal. According to sources quoted by news agency PTI, TMC had allegedly offered only two seats to Congress, citing its performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Congress rejected this proposal, deeming it insufficient. It's worth noting that TMC and Congress have historically formed alliances in the 2001 assembly elections, 2009 Lok Sabha elections, and 2011 assembly elections, successfully toppling the 34-year-old Left government in the latter. However, the recent disagreement over seat sharing has strained their relationship.

 

In a related development, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann announced that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would not form an alliance with Congress in the state for the Lok Sabha elections, expressing confidence in winning all 13 Lok Sabha seats. However, AAP remains open to an alliance in Delhi, as discussed in recent meetings regarding seat sharing between the two parties.


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