Mamata accuses Congress of colluding with Left
KOLKATA/NEW DELHI IN an indication of their uneasy ties threatening the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), a fiery West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday accused the Congress of colluding with her arch foes Communists to hurt her Trinamool Congress.
The Congress downplayed the infighting saying that despite some differences, Banerjee’s party continued to be an alliance partner in West Bengal and in the Congressled central government.
The escalating war between the coalition partners came out in open over the West Bengal government’s proposal to rename a building named after late prime minister Indira Gandhi.
The chief minister wants the Kolkata-based Indira Bhavan - where Gandhi stayed in 1972 - to be after rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Reacting to protests over the issue, Banerjee said in Kolkata that the Congress had covertly aligned with the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) against Trinamool workers in West Bengal.
“In West Bengal, the CPI-M and the Congress are working together. Our partymen are being attacked,” said the chief of the Trinamool, the second largest UPA partner with 19 MPs. In New Delhi, the Congress said “there could be some differences but the fact is we have an alliance with (the Trinamool) in West Bengal and at the centre”.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said while his party “respected poets and musicians, Banerjee should not forget she had worked under (Indira) Gandhi”.
Banerjee hit back, saying Congress workers had launched a vilification campaign against her.
“They are blocking roads and railway tracks daily and abusing me. But I have not uttered anything against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or against Sonia Gandhi.” The chief minister said the state government would go ahead with the plan to set up “Nazrul academy” in the building housing a museum on the poet.
West Bengal Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya, however, expressed the hope that the state government would not go ahead with the move to rename Indira Bhavan.
“(Otherwise), we shall intensify our agitation statewide.” The Congress- Trinamool ties 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.