The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata seals BJP alliance

Calcutta, March 21: The Trinamul Congress and the BJP will field common candidates against the CPM and the Congress in the May panchayat polls, undertake a joint campaign and bring out a common election manifesto, announced party chiefs Mamata Banerjee and Tathagata Roy today.

“We have decided to put up a united fight against the CPM’s misrule and political terror and utilise the coming panchayat elections as the launching pad for a joint campaign which will be carried forward to the next Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. We are expecting the NDA government’s full backing in our battle against the ruling Marxists in Bengal,” Mamata said.

The Trinamul leader, who cemented the alliance with the BJP during her last visit to Delhi, will attend an NDA rally in the capital later this month and share a platform with BJP president Venkaiah Naidu at Sahid Minar on April 17.

Leader of the Opposition Pankaj Banerjee, who was present at the news meet, said Trinamul had achieved good results in the 1998 panchayat polls in alliance with the BJP. “We intend to jointly fight the CPM and its cohorts this time too,” he said.

The leaders made it clear that their fight would be against both the Congress and the CPM.

“Our fight is against the Marxists and the party which is providing oxygen to them. I had entered into an electoral entente with the Congress and initially set aside 39 seats for the BJP in the last Assembly polls with a view to forming a mahajot against the CPM. However, no mahajot could be formed and the Congress, too, back-stabbed us by fielding Independents against our nominees. We had given enough scope to the Congress to get itself involved in a broad anti-CPM fight, but the Congress has decided to go it alone in the panchayat polls. Hence, there is no question of having any kind of alliance with the party,” she said.

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