September 23, 2013
THANKS, BUT NO THANKS
`Confident of overwhelming and a solid backing of the people of Bengal, Trinamool politely turns down Prime Minister`s hint of poll pact for 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, reports All India Trinamool Congress Leads Bureau.`
Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress on September 8 thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for leaving open the possibility of reviving a tie-up before the Lok Sabha elections but made it clear that the party was doing well on its own and was happy to go it alone.
The Trinamool Congress chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O`Brien, responded to the Prime Minister`s statement that there were “no permanent friends or enemies“ in politics by saying, “PM has not ruled out a Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance for the 2014 LS poll. We are doing just great on our own. So thanks, Sir – but no thanks. The people of Bengal are with us. They have supported us overwhelmingly in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the 2011 Assembly polls, in the by-polls and in the recent panchayat polls.“
In the panchayat polls, the Trinamool Congress fought against Congress, BJP and CPI (M) and won 13 out of 17 districts. The Rajya Sabha chief whip also pointed out that chief minister Mamata Banerjee has already called upon regional parties to come together after the polls to form a government which would be corruption-free and pro-people.
On September 7, while responding to a question on the possibility of an alliance with Trinamool Congress Party, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said, “There are no permanent enemies and friends in politics. I do not rule out alliances.“ He said that his party would prefer secular parties for an electoral alliance and did not rule out any truck with the Trinamool Congress as “in politics there is no permanent enemies and permanent friends. And in many ways, a week in politics is sometimes an unusually long period of time. So I do not rule out alliances.“
The Prime Minister also showered praise on chief minister Mamata Banerjee, despite her pulling out of the UPA-II government last September protesting the Centre`s economic policies. He further added, “Mamata Banerjee was very respectable member of the Congress at one time. As the leader of the Trinamool also, we were very happy to have her in our Government.“
However, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s observation that a future electoral tie-up with Trinamool Congress cannot be ruled out was greeted with a response that bordered on scepticism here in West Bengal as the Trinamool Congress said it would like to go it alone in the coming Lok Sabha election.
Describing it as nothing surprising, ministers of the congress party of Bengal said the Prime Minister had rightly expressed his mind stressing the need for a strong and secular democratic government at the Centre keeping the communal forces at bay. After the separation with Congress, Trinamool Congress retained the Howrah Lok Sabha seat in a by-election and, going it alone, had a decisive victory in the recently held Panchayat Polls. In the Panchayat Polls, Trinamool Congress fought against Congress, BJP and CPI (M) and won 13 out of 17 districts.
“There is no doubt that Trinamool is the biggest political force in Bengal now and it appears set to win a larger number of seats in next year`s Lok Sabha elections. It may be difficult for any party to form a government at the Centre without the participation or support of Trinamul. So, the party is in no hurry to pick its partners,“ said a Trinamool MP. The Panchayat results have proved that Trinamul has made inroads into Congress-dominated areas of north Bengal. Trinamool has managed to rock the Congress boat in Malda and North Dinajpur. It is only in Murshidabad that the Congress flag is still flying high. “It is up to the Congress to decide whether it wants an alliance or not. We are confident of winning around 30 to 35 seats of the 42 in the next parliamentary elections all by ourselves,“ said a senior Trinamool leader.
The Trinamool and the Congress had contested together the 2009 Lok Sabha Elections and the West Bengal assembly elections two years later. But TMC parted ways with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government on Sep 21, 2012, over a slew of policy issues ranging from allowing foreign investment in multi-brand retail, increase in diesel prices and putting a cap on the availability of subsidised cooking gas cylinders. But, even in the last Lok Sabha polls when TMC had allied with the UPA, it won a total of 19 seats alone, three times more than what UPA had won in Bengal. And in the year 2013, when the whole of Bengal seems to be beside Mamata Banerjee, anyone can say that in the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections in 2014 also the TMC will have a massive victory over any other party in Bengal.