State polls to impact Congress-Trinamool ties: West Bengal Congress chief (Interview)

February 27th, 2012 - 3:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Feb 27 (IANS) The outcome of ongoing assembly elections in five states will have an impact on the Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance in West Bengal, state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya has said.

“The alliance is not in a comfortable state now .The results of not only Uttar Pradesh but of all the five states will have a separate impact on West Bengal,” Bhattacharya told IANS in an interview.

While Manipur, Uttarakhand and Punjab have voted, Goa will vote March 3 along with the seventh and final round of balloting in Uttar Pradesh. The votes will be counted March 6.

The Congress is now dependent on the Trinamool - which has 20 MPs in the Lok Sabha and six in the Rajya Sabha - to run the central government.
Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool has been stiffly opposing key central legislation and policies.

“Though they have ministers in the central government, it is really unfortunate they are supporting the voice of the BJP inside parliament,” said Bhattacharya, the lone Congress Rajya Sabha MP from the state.

He rubbished Banerjee’s allegations that the central government had failed to bail out the debt-ridden West Bengal government.

While alleging that most Trinamool ministers in West Bengal do not have any clue on running the departments and wait for the chief minister’s nod on each and every issue, Bhattacharya said his party’s ministers hardly have any say in the government’s functioning.

Asked about the state of governance in West Bengal, he said: “I don’t expect the government to change everything within nine months. But the way the government has started functioning shows the path is not correct.”

He added that Banerjee was following in the footsteps of former chief minister Jyoti Basu by alleging that the central government was giving “step motherly” treatment to Bengal.

“I am hearing the voice of Jyoti Basu from the present chief minister. This is unfortunate. We did not expect this.”

The veteran Congress leader - who was a minister in the Sidhharth Shankar Ray’s cabinet in the 1970s - accused Trinamool of trying to break the Congress.

“Trinamool’s main strategy is to finish the Congress and break the Congress but they won’t be able to do it because the Congress has its own vote share,” he said.

Bhattacharya said one of his main challenges was to increase the Congress influence which has fallen due to the people’s acceptance of Trinamool as the only opposition when the Left supported the UPA government.

“We have to increase our influence so much that Congress can be seen as an alternative to the Left by replacing Trinamool, if the situation so demands in future,” he said.

Bhattacharjya maintained the Congress state unit would not stop opposing the Trinamool government over farmer suicides.

“We are in the government because of people’s wish, not due to anybody’s mercy,” he said.

(Pradipta Tapadar can be contacted at pradipta.t@ians.in)

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