KOLKATA: The West Bengal Congress leaders, believed to be close to party scion Rahul Gandhi, launched a scathing attack on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday calling TMC a stooge or ‘B-team’ of the BJP.
This marked the lowest point in the Congress-TMC alliance. In the last few months, the relationship between the UPA-II allies has plummeted with the TMC virtually playing the role of the Opposition in Parliament thwarting the Congress’ FDI, Lokpal and the Pension Bill proposals.
At the state level too, the growing resentment between both the parties has reached a crescendo with the Congress complaining of discrimination by Didi and political violence at the hands of the TMC workers.
The Congress and the TMC have been at loggerheads over Mamata’s proposition of renaming Indira Bhavan to house a museum and research centre for Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Even though Mamata said there was no official notification on the matter, she accused the Congress on Tuesday of colluding with the CPM drawing sharp criticism from the Congress camp.
Senior Congress leaders Deepa Dasmunsi, Manas Bhunia and state Youth Congress President Mausam Noor, who are closer to Rahul Gandhi, called the TMC a minion of the BJP. “We are being constantly blamed as the B-team of the CPM. But it is the TMC which has been on the same boat with the BJP on the issue of FDI in retail. They (TMC), along with the BJP and the Left, had opposed the FDI in retail, although they are our alliance partner. In the case of Lokpal Bill also, TMC MPs in the Rajya Sabha took the same tone as that of CPM MP Sitaram Yechury. After so many instances, why can’t we call them the B-team of the Left and the BJP when on each and every issue, they are opposing the Congress at the Centre? They are the B-team of the CPM and the Left,” said Congress MP Deepa Dasmunsi. This was also the first time that a state Cabinet minister came out publicly against Didi. Manas Bhunia, Minister for Small and Micro Industries and Textiles, criticised Mamata’s allegation that the Congress and the CPM had joined hands. “We follow a ‘laxmanrekha’. There is a formula for coalition politics. We won’t break it. But I would like to tell the Chief Minister to meet the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee President and sit down for talks,” said Manas Bhunia.
The minister’s harsh words drew strong criticism from his Cabinet colleagues. “We are warning them that calling the TMC a ‘harmad’ party won’t be tolerated,” said Madan Mitra.