Calcutta, April 8: The Congress has decided to target Mamata Banerjee for her failure to float an anti-Left secular alliance and quit the NDA.
“We made a serious effort to bring together all secular anti-Left forces in Bengal under Mamata’s leadership. But her refusal to part company with the BJP has frustrated our attempt,” state Congress president Pranab Mukherjee said today. “The Congress in its campaign will tell people how Mamata backed out to keep her alliance with the NDA intact.”
Mukherjee also argued it was not correct to say that there was no NDA in the state, as claimed by the Trinamul Congress chief. “The NDA has a Lok Sabha MP and three Rajya Sabha members. So, how can she (Mamata) claim that there is no NDA in Bengal'” he asked.
The Congress manifesto released today was critical of Mamata’s decision not to quit the NDA. “The only condition the Congress imposed was that the BJP and other communal forces be kept out of the alliance Mamata was trying to float. The Congress cannot have any truck with a party that has BJP links,” said Mukherjee.
Mamata, however, was unruffled by the Congress’s decision to target her. “The state Congress has already been exposed because of its hobnobbing with the CPM. Congress workers who have been subjected to the CPM’s torture and humiliation over the years will vote for us,” she said.
The Trinamul Congress leader said she would take the Congress’s “abject surrender to the CPM to run its UPA government at the Centre” to the people’s court during her campaign.
She has also agreed to launch a joint campaign with the BJP. Out of the 294 seats, the BJP will contest 31, while the Trinamul has put up candidates in 253 seats. Ten have been given to allies.
At a news conference, the BJP general secretary in charge of Bengal, Arun Jaitley, announced that Mamata and he would launch the combine’s joint campaign in Kharagpur on April 14.