The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Do or dodo: Subrata to Didi
Mamata Banerjee and Subrata Mukherjee, when they were still in the same team

Calcutta, June 13: Like the dodo, Mamata Banerjee, the politician, will become extinct if she continues to oppose a key survival need ' a new ally ' her friend-turned-foe Subrata Mukherjee said today.

'Wait for a few months, Mamata will go into political oblivion' become extinct like dodo birds' if she does not wake up to the need for aligning with the United Democratic Alliance to take on the communists,' Mukherjee said.

Those who regularly drop in at Mamata's Kalighat residence will stop doing so because she will lose relevance, he warned. 'One must not forget that coalition politics is the need of the hour.'

Mukherjee broke away from Mamata's Trinamul Congress to float the Paschimbanga Unnayan Congress Mancha, which allied with the Congress and a string of secular, anti-Left parties to form the United Democratic Alliance.

Talking to the media, the mayor said he was not averse to a post-poll alliance with Trinamul in the event of a hung city civic board after the June 19 elections.

'If Trinamul gets more seats than us in the civic polls, we will have no problem in joining forces with it to install an anti-CPM board. By doing that, we can send a positive signal to Mamata that a grand alliance of like-minded parties can only keep the CPM away,' he observed.

Asked if Mamata's tie-up with the BJP will stand in the way, Mukherjee averted a direct answer. 'We cannot ignore the people's verdict. If the mandate is for an anti-Left civic board, we will have to go by that,' he said.

Yesterday, defence minister and state Congress president Pranab Mukherjee had ruled out any tie-up with a communal outfit, meaning the BJP, which is allied with Mamata. For an alliance, he had insisted, Mamata should quit the BJP-led NDA.

The mayor, it is said, walked out of Trinamul because Mamata would not have retained him the mayor. Today, he said: 'I am ready to opt out of the race for the post if people want that.'

Mukherjee was also ready to accept Mamata as the skipper of the new alliance and project her as the chief ministerial candidate in next year's Assembly polls. 'I am still optimistic'.'

He also said that in some wards, particularly in the south, candidates for the United Democratic Alliance and Trinamul had made adjustments among themselves to avoid fighting against each other. 'In these wards, people want us to ensure that the anti-CPM votes are not divided. This is definitely a good sign for the emergence of an anti-Left alternative in Bengal.'

The Trinamul leadership refused to attach any importance to what the mayor said. 'We are confident of Trinamul's emergence as the largest party. We don't have to tie up with the Congress,' said general secretary Mukul Roy.

The mayor claimed that people will vote for the alliance because of the work he had done. 'The chief minister is criticising me in public now but it is he who praised me on numerous occasions for my good work. This is nothing but politics. He has to keep his party in good humour.'

Email This Page