The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sonia joins CPM on Mamata hit list

Calcutta, March 24: Mamata Banerjee today made it clear that her comment yesterday ' 'something politically right can be morally wrong' ' applied not just to the CPM but to Sonia Gandhi as well.

The Trinamul Congress chief said Sonia had 'no opt- ion' but to step down as an MP and chairperson of the National Advisory Council. 'I want to make it clear that Soniaji had no option as eventually she would have been disqualified as an MP,' she said.

'Just as I believe that the CPM's decision to not ask its MPs to step down, despite being in offices of profit, is morally indefensible, I also believe that this is true of Sonia Gan-dhi's decision to resign as an MP.'

The rare outburst against Sonia was prompted by Mamata's 'disillusionment' at the Congress not striking a seat-sharing deal with her party, Trinamul sources said.

'She made these remarks as she felt let down by the Congress president, who did not prevail over Congress leaders to get into an electoral understanding with her,' a Trinamul leader said.

Let alone making uncharitable remarks about Sonia, Mamata had not even spoken out against her party in the lead-up to the Assembly elec- tions, hoping to strike an agreement over seats.

But all this has evidently changed with the Congress declaring its list for the first two phases of the polls without factoring in Trinamul.

Mamata had met state Congress president Pranab Mukherjee and Margaret Alva, the AICC general secretary in charge of Bengal, twice to discuss sharing of seats, only to find the Congress putting up nominees against her candidates.

'I waited pretty long for the Congress to think over the seat sharing. I thought good sense would prevail in the Congress, but that has not happened,' Mamata said.

In the wake of Sonia's resignation, state Congress leaders demanded the resignation of 10 CPM MPs who have been holding offices of profit.

'Marxists who speak so much about value-based politics should get their MPs to step down taking a leaf out of Soniaji's book. We wonder how CPM general secretary Prakash Karat could rule out the resignation of his party MPs,' former state Congress chief Somen Mitra said.

He added that the Congress would spearhead a movement across Bengal demanding the resignations and make it a poll plank. 'We shall take the issue to the people's court.'

Mitra also regretted the failure to unite anti-Left forces to prevent a split in votes. 'People wanted us to be together. But our national compulsions came in the way. We cannot tie up with Trinamul because of its links with the BJP.'

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