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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Seat-sharing key to 2024 Lok Sabha polls victory, says Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

'This is the reality, the fact, the truth. I am not making it up. This is the Congress’s defeat, not that of the people. The people have given their verdict against the BJP'

Meghdeep Bhattacharyya Calcutta Published 05.12.23, 05:55 AM
Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee. Picture: Bishwarup Dutta

Mamata Banerjee on Monday held the Congress responsible for the BJP’s sweep of three heartland states while denying that Sunday’s Assembly poll results would have any bearing on the general election next year.

She asserted that a united INDIA bloc, with a proper seat-sharing arrangement, would ensure a BJP defeat.

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The Bengal chief minister was addressing the Assembly on the development undertaken in Jungle Mahal on her watch when she brought up the subject of the poll results that gave Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the BJP.

“I was going through the results. The difference…39 per cent (Congress), 42 per cent (BJP), and 12 per cent went to other INDIA allies,” she said, apparently alluding to the Rajasthan vote share.

Mamata said: “This is the reality, the fact, the truth. I am not making it up. This is the Congress’s defeat, not that of the people. The people have given their verdict against the BJP.”

Her party too had on Sunday blamed the election results on the Congress, refusing to give any credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the BJP.

Mamata said in the House that timely seat-sharing would have averted the BJP sweep of the three states.

“We had kept insisting that the seat-sharing be done fast. I do believe that seat-sharing will eliminate these problems,” she said.

“Suppose, a party that contested (the Congress) was asked for six seats by another (smaller) party, they could have been given three. But they (the Congress) did not do so. That is why they lost and the BJP won.”

She added: “I firmly believe that if there is seat-sharing, the BJP government will not return in 2024…. INDIA will work together. We will rectify mistakes. One mistake teaches many lessons. Criticism alone will not serve any purpose.”

“The victory was one of vote katakati (division). It is not a case of darun phataphati (extraordinarily spectacular),” Mamata said.

“Campaigns alone do not work, ads alone do not work. Strategy is necessary. The strategy must be blended with ideology. Strategy and working in the field. This I learnt from the lessons taught by Swami Vivekananda.”

Mamata also questioned the credibility of the recent Assembly elections, accusing the BJP of misusing the central agencies to corner political opponents.

“Where was the election? It was an agency-based selection. Agency pollution. Polluted the states in the name of elections,” the chief minister said.

“Maybe some won, for which I would congratulate them. But democracy was tainted, dashed to the ground, for which I have condemnation.”

Mamata ridiculed the Bengal BJP’s chest-thumping celebrations of the heartland triumph and its claims about winning 35-plus of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats next year and prematurely felling her government. She said there would be no impact in Bengal of whatever happened elsewhere.

Referring to BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s threat of a “pincer movement” against her government from Monday, she said all that the state BJP was capable of was a “dhnyarosh (useless) movement”.

“I am not weak, I am very strong. It’s simply that I resort to personal attacks less often,” she said, responding with scorn to the BJP’s corruption allegations against the Trinamul dispensation and warning that she knew about many a “scam”.

Not long before her, Trinamul national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee had spoken to journalists at the airport and recalled a December 2018 assertion by the BJP after it had lost Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the Congress.

“In 2018, they had claimed that the results would not affect the Lok Sabha polls of 2019,” the Diamond Harbour MP said.

Indeed, the BJP did storm back to power at the Centre in 2019.

“If we go by their logic, then even these election results will not affect the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. But we are indeed running short of time. So, it will be better if we (INDIA) work constructively together,” Abhishek said.

He stressed the need to draw timely lessons from the Assembly poll results, plug the gaps and work together.

Both aunt and nephew are, however, likely to give INDIA’s Wednesday meeting a miss as they will be in north Bengal to attend a family wedding.

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