New Delhi: Amid escalating tensions with
Mamata Banerjee`s party, Congress on Saturday said it was open to
the idea of a UPA coordination committee to bring greater
cohesion within the alliance.
At the same time, it dismissed suggestions that Congress
was scared of any party entering poll fray in Uttar Pradesh or
any other state.
Trinamool Congress has fielded a large number of
candidates in the Hindi state.
To a question on whether Congress feels the need of
setting up a UPA coordination committee in the present
circumstances, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, "We
are not ruling it out but we are also not ruling it in. What
you are saying is certainly open."
He, however, said that the idea has to be first thought
over by the Congress President and the party high command as
well as by the allies. Singhvi said this does not pertain to
any particular case. "But it is not particular to say anything
right now as no such decision has been taken on it," he added.
On a day when the war of words has only become hotter
between the West Bengal unit of the Congress and Banerjee`s
party, Singhvi advised restraint on the issue to all
stakeholders and downplayed the differences.
"These things do happen in a coalition arrangement. We
urge all the concerned stakeholders not to react
over-aggressively and in a provocative atmosphere," he said.
Maintaining that disagreements are part of the coalition
arrangement, the Congress spokesperson stressed "but these
things are eventually sorted out as long as the allies
consider the coalition valuable."
Singhvi alleged that the BJP was fishing in troubled
waters through its overtures to the Trinamool Congress.
"BJP has been unsuccessfully trying to act Narad Muni,"
he said, adding that the opposition party`s "desperation for
power" was leading it into creating instability.
The UPA does not have a formal coordination committee
since it came to power in May 2004.
Allies like Trinamool Congress and NCP have been
demanding a formal or informal mechanism for making the UPA`s
functioning more cohesive.
The latest spar between Trinamool Congress and Congress
has reached a flashpoint in last few days over the issue of
the state government`s bid to rename Indira Bhavan in Kolkata.
Reflecting the widening rift between the two parties,
Banerjee today lashed out at the Congress saying it was free
to quit the alliance in the state and accused it of spreading
canard and carrying out false propaganda against her party.
WBPCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya, however, said that the
Congress has no such intention and they are in the ministry to
fulfil the desires of the people who voted for them.
Reacting to Banerjee`s contention that Congress was
worried because TC had decided to contest the upcoming
assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur, Singhvi said,
"There is no question of a 125-year-old (party) to be scared
of anyone in Delhi or Centre or in any other state. We are
never afraid of any political challenge."
He, however, caveated it by saying it did not apply to
any one particular party but to all.
Asked whether the party`s central leadership will ask
its state unit not to fan the controversy, he said, "Each of
our state unit is fully capable of deciding in the spirit of
what we have said."
A senior leader, who declined to be identified, said a
dialogue with Mamata`s party is expected to start by February
end when elections are over. The view of the party leadership
is that Mamata in no case will join hand with BJP or withdraw
support from the UPA if she wanted Centre`s helping hand in
West Bengal development, the leader said.
He, however, also added that the effort will be made to
create some kind of cushion by roping in other parties in the
UPA to neutralise Mamata`s pressure tactics.