Congress dubs Trinamool ‘BJP stooge’, asked to leave ministry (Lead)

January 4th, 2012 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Jan 4 (IANS) The tense relationship between West Bengal’s two ruling parties nose-dived Wednesday after the Congress called the Trinamool Congress a ‘B-team’ of the BJP and Left. A furious Trinamool asked the Congress to quit the state government.

The state Congress leadership’s comment came a day after Trinamool leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that the state Congress was colluding with the Marxists to hurt her party.

Not to take the accusation lying down, the Congress in turn accused the Trinamool of constantly playing spoilsport vis-a-vis various policies of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

“We are constantly called the B-team of CPI-M. But it is Trinamool which has been on the same boat with BJP on FDI in retail. They (Trinamool) along with BJP and Left opposed FDI in retail. On Lokpal bill too the Trinamool MPs took the same line as (Marxist) Sitaram Yechury,” Congress MP Deepa Dasmunsi said.

“After so many instances, why can’t we call them B-team of Left and BJP when on each and every issue they are opposing the Congress at the centre? They are the B-team of CPI-M and Left,” said Dasmunsi.

The Trinamool Congress is the second largest partner of the UPA after the Congress. The two parties also share power in West Bengal although the Trinamool, with over 180 legislators, is not dependent on Congress to run the government.

The Trinamool leadership Wednesday challenged the state Congress by asking its ministries to resign, saying won only because of the appeal of Mamata Banerjee.

“If they (Congress) think that we are so bad, then why don’t they leave the ministry and the post of MLAs which they won using the name of Trinamool and Mamatadi? They will not leave the ministry because they are greedy and they can’t win again without Mamatadi,” gloated Sports Minister Madan Mitra of the Trinamool.

“If they have the guts, they should leave the ministry. If they want they can go to CPI-M. Why they are staying with us? If they leave us, the Bengal government will not fall. But if we leave the UPA, the central government will fall. So they should not talk much,” said Mitra.

“They are agents of the Marxists and will remain so. They will never change their nature,” added Firhad Hakim, the urban development minister and another Trinamool leader.

But Congress leader Manas Bhuniya, the state irrigation minister, demanded to know why the Trinamool was always attacking the Congress just because “we don’t agree with them on certain issues”?

The state Congress leaders were addressing a rally organized to protest against the “inaction” by the state government to take care of farmers who said they were not getting proper price for their produce.

“There is no reason for Trinamool Congress to think that Congress is weak in the state,” West Bengal Congress president Pradip Bhattacharjee said.

The Congress-Trinamool ties in the state and at the centre have remained uneasy since Banerjee joined the UPA after the 2009 Lok Sabha election.

She has bitterly opposed and blocked some of the key policies and bills of the UPA government, including the anti-corruption Lokpal bill.

Banerjee also raised objections to the proposed foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, forcing the government to put the move on hold.

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