Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Abhishek Banerjee on January 29, laid the blame for the breakdown in seat-sharing talks in the state for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls on the Congress.
Speaking at a public event in West Bengal on January 29, Abhishek, who happens to be the nephew of TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said while the basic norm of an alliance is for the partners to finalise a seat-sharing deal at the earliest, the Congress had been dragging their feet in the matter for months.
“When you are in an alliance with someone, the first thing you do is finalise the seat-sharing deal. We had been asking them about the seat-sharing arrangement since June. Seven months passed and they did nothing. At our (I.N.D.I Alliance’s) last meeting in Delhi, Mamata Banerjee even set a deadline of December 31 (for the Congress to finalise its seat-sharing arrangement with the TMC in Bengal). We’re in the last week of January now and they still haven’t done anything,” Abhishek said.
“The general elections could likely be held in March and we had no clue which seats to contest and which to set aside for our partner,” the TMC leader added.
Earlier, the TMC supremo ruled out an alliance with the Congress in Bengal saying her party was quite capable of contesting all Lok Sabha seats in the state on its own steam and defeating the BJP. Significantly, the ruling Janata Dal-United (JDU), earlier, accused Congress of wanting to steal and appropriate the mantle of leadership of the Opposition alliance.
JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said the Congress wanted to steal the leadership of the I.N.D.I Alliance, adding, “In the meeting that took place on December 19, a conspiracy was hatched to appropriate the leadership of the INDIA bloc, as Mallikarjun Kharge’s name was proposed (as PM),” he said.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, too, weighed in amid rising differences between I.N.D.I Alliance over seat-sharing, saying there could not be a “one-size-fits-all formula” for a country like India which has different political realities. He added that negotiations over a seat arrangement would be taking place on a “state-by-state basis.”
“It is understood that negotiations will be taking place on a state-by-state basis. You could not have a one-size-fits-all formula for the States. Our country is very complicated. With different political realities in different states,” Tharoor said.
The Bloc, which brought together 28 Opposition forces from across the country, was founded on the common objective of defeating the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Nitish’s resignation as Bihar CM and return to the BJP-led NDA, earlier, was seen as a big blow to the I.N.D.I Alliance, coming as it did barely months ahead of the general elections and at a time when the alliance is seemingly coming apart over rising differences and divergent positions over seat-sharing.
(with inputs from ANI)