Congress pacifies Trinamool angry over Rahul’s Left remark (Lead)

May 6th, 2009 - 5:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Rahul Gandhi New Delhi/Kolkata, May 6 (IANS) A worried Congress party promised Wednesday not to do anything that hurts the Trinamool Congress after the latter threatened a divorce if the Congress tied up with the Left after the Lok Sabha elections.
Reacting angrily to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s comments a day earlier that his party would not be opposed to shaking hands again with the Communists, the Trinamool, the main opposition party in Left-ruled West Bengal, warned of a walkout.

The Congress went into an overdrive, telling Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee that it had no plans to engage with the Communists — Trinamool’s foremost foe.

“We won’t do anything which will upset Trinamool,” Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily told reporters in New Delhi. “The alliance with Trinamool will be stable, strong and permanent.”

Moily’s forthright comments followed wishy-washy remarks earlier by Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi that there was no alliance with the Left. But he was vague about the post-election scenario.

“Rahul Gandhi had said that in the past we have been with the Left and that their thinking matches with us far more than the NDA (National Democratic Alliance). But there is no alliance with the Left,” he added.

The Trinamool declared categorically late Wednesday — hours after Rahul Gandhi made his surprise comments in New Delhi — that it would never be a part of any alliance that ties up with the Communists.

The Congress’ first response was to say that it had no alliance anywhere with the Left.

But to add to Mamata Banerjee’s discomfort, Congress leader and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that his party’s pact with the Trinamool did not preclude the Congress from taking support of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) — later.

Banerjee said: “Our position is clear. If the Congress joins hands with the CPI-M or the Left after the polls, we cannot continue to be with them (Congress). There is no question of co-existence for us and the CPI-M.”

Moily responded by saying: “Our agreement with Mamataji will remain strong and we will not form any alliance detrimental to the interest of Trinamool.”

West Bengal, which sends 42 members to the Lok Sabha, conducts its second round of polling Thursday. The first phase ended April 30 and the third is due May 13.

On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi said he was confident of the Left support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the event of a hung parliament. The Left withdrew support to the government in July last year over the India-US nuclear deal.

Trinamool leader Dinesh Trivedi tried to play down the matter.

“I think these (Rahul’s) are the words of the media. I heard the TV report… nowhere has he used these words. This is the imagination of the media.

“We believe in democracy and the CPI-M is undemocratic. We will do disservice to the nation if we associate with the CPI-M. The Congress also understands (this), I am sure.”

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