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Seat-Sharing Tensions on Rise in INDI Alliance: Mamata Challenges Congress

Seat-sharing tensions between Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and Congress are escalating. Rahul Gandhi assures a resolution amid the ongoing dispute.

Seat-Sharing Tensions on Rise in INDI Alliance: Mamata Challenges Congress

Kolkata: In the ongoing conflict over seat allocation between Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a significant criticism. She asserted that if Congress possesses the strength, it should demonstrate it by challenging the BJP in Varanasi. Mamata Banerjee, the leader of TMC, disclosed that she had suggested Congress take two seats in Bengal, but Congress declined. Instead, she advised them to go to Prayagraj in UP and return only after defeating BJP in Banaras. Without directly mentioning Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee remarked that some individuals visit the state merely for photo opportunities.


This statement from Mamata Banerjee coincided with former Congress President Rahul Gandhi's announcement on Thursday, February 1, that his party is in discussions with TMC regarding seat-sharing for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. A resolution to this matter is anticipated in the near future.


Rahul Gandhi, addressing the concerns raised during his interaction with the party's digital media members in Bengal, responded to the question about the Congress giving importance to TMC President Mamata Banerjee, despite her apparent reluctance to allocate even a single Lok Sabha seat for Congress. He clarified that Mamata Banerjee herself asserts being part of the alliance, emphasizing that ongoing discussions about seat distribution are taking place from both sides and expressing confidence that a resolution will be reached.


Interestingly, Mamata Banerjee had recently declared that TMC would independently contest on all 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal. In response to this, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh provided a straightforward answer, stating that Mamata Banerjee remains the primary ally of the INDI alliance. 


The origins of the discord trace back to a meeting with party leaders in Murshidabad, where Mamata Banerjee expressed her dissatisfaction, stating that if due importance is not given to TMC within the alliance, they would opt to contest the elections independently. In response, Rahul Gandhi provided a measured reply, downplaying the significance of such statements, characterizing them as common in the dynamics of alliances.


However, the response from West Bengal Congress President Adhir Ranjan Choudhary took a different tone, suggesting a more permissive attitude toward Mamata Banerjee's statements. Choudhary remarked that Mamata Banerjee should be allowed to express herself freely. On the other hand, TMC leader Derek O'Brien pointed fingers at Adhir Ranjan Choudhary, holding him responsible for the lack of progress in discussions about seat sharing.


It's essential to note that despite the internal tensions, both TMC and Congress are integral components of the opposition alliance 'India,' which is unified in its stance against the Bharatiya Janata Party. The ongoing rift within this alliance underscores the challenges of creating a cohesive front to counter the ruling party.