Kolkata: Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday that the Left Front, Congress and her party should join hands to fight the surge of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in West Bengal.
Speaking in the Assembly, Banerjee reportedly said, “I have apprehensions that the BJP would change the Constitution of India. I think all of us, including the Left and Congress, should join hands to combat the BJP.”
This was probably the first time that Banerjee sought to join hands with arch-rivals just to stop the growth of BJP, though on several occasions the Trinamool chief did talk about an alliance with the Left and Congress at the national level many times.
According to a leading portal, Banerjee also sought to explain her party’s silence over the Rafale deal, an issue that the Congress harped on during its Lok Sabha campaign. She said, “I preferred to remain silent (though she had raised the issue in some of the public meetings before the Lok Sabha election) on Rafale because I did not have the documents with me. This does not mean that I opposed the Congress.”
On the issue of the crisis within her party over bribe, the Chief Minister reportedly said, “I agree with Partha Chatterjee (state Education minister) that 0.9 per cent TMC politicians may be corrupt, but it is also a fact that the number of honest politicians in Bengal is higher than any other state in India.”
“We have Lokayukta here. If you have any complaint, go to the Lokayukta. So far, we have received 6,741 complaints and investigation is on,” she reportedly said as the Opposition raised slogans over ‘cut money’.
However, the Congress and the Left didn’t quite warm up to Banerjee’s statement. Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra told the portal, “Her statement in the Assembly has no meaning. She said this out of her own interest. Before the Lok Sabha election, she made a statement that we are with the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). She should speak clearly what she means with her statement.”
CPI(M) politburo member Hannan Mollah also told the portal, “Before thinking anything on this line (on Banerjee’s call for joining hands), I think we need to strengthen our own party. She is a selfish leader. She is doing this because she is helpless (right now). We will wait and watch before making any commitment.”