The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata warms to BJP pact

Calcutta, Nov. 8: The strained ties between the Trinamul Congress and the state BJP all but became a thing of the past today with Mamata Banerjee responding to the overtures of the state BJP chief to fight the ruling Marxists together in the panchayat polls scheduled for May.

A day after Tathagata Roy dropped most loyalists of Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Tapan Sikdar from the new Bengal BJP secretariat, the Trinamul chief welcomed his proposal for an electoral alliance to prevent a split in anti-Left votes.

“We welcome his stand and will soon convene a meeting to consider the matter,” Mamata said. “The situation seems to have changed and there is a need to bring all the anti-CPM forces on a common platform.”

Roy, who did not like the Mamata-bashing the Sikdar loyalists frequently indulged in, hailed the Trinamul chief’s response. “This is good. This way, we will develop a perfect understanding and be able to mobilise the people of Bengal against the Marxists,” he said.

The state BJP secretariat is expected to discuss the alliance issue at its first meeting tomorrow. Mamata has convened a party meeting on November 12 to discuss the situation arising out of the change in the state BJP’s stand on her party.

Trinamul and BJP leaders asserted Mamata’s relations with the Centre will not come in the way of an alliance in the state.

“Even if we continue to be outside the NDA, we will not hesitate to join forces with the BJP here to ensure the Marxists’ defeat. Our party’s political compulsions at the national level will not prevent us from forging an alliance with the anti-CPM forces here,” Mamata said.

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