Pranab criticises Trinamool`s attempts to marginalise Cong

Reflecting growing strains in relations between the two UPA allies, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today criticised attempts of Trinamool Congress to marginalise Congress in West Bengal.

Updated: May 26, 2010, 00:16 AM IST

Kolkata: Reflecting growing strains in
relations between the two UPA allies, Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee today criticised attempts of Trinamool Congress to
marginalise Congress in West Bengal.

"It would be wrong to believe that Congress would be
reduced to a signboard organisation in Bengal. Insults to
party supporters and activists should stop," Mukherjee, who
heads the state PCC, said at an election rally without naming
Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee.

The two parties recently decided to go it alone in the
civic polls following break-down of seat adjustment talks
between them.

Defending Congress party`s position during seat-sharing
talks with TC, Mukherjee said it was "irrational to equate
civic polls with Lok Sabha election to reach a seat-sharing
understanding".

His comments came on the heels of Banerjee dubbing
Congress leaders as "CPI-M agents" during the civic poll
campaign.

"No parallel could be drawn between Lok Sabha polls and
municipal polls. The civic polls are fought on local issues
and political issues do not play a major role here," he said.

"I tried for an alliance this time too but it did not
happen. What could be done," he asked, dismissing accusations
that he scuppered the seat-adjustment in civic polls.

Noting that it would be wrong to say that TC got so many
seats in Lok Sabha polls in Bengal on its own strength, he
remarked, "Congress also contributed immensely and the two
parties won 25 seats (out of 42 seat)."

Mukherjee said the need for an alliance with TC to thwart
BJP to come to power after Left Parties withdrew support from
UPA government over Indo-US nuclear deal helped TC bag 19
seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

Banerjee had kept 25 out of 141 seats in Kolkata to
Congress, citing her party`s performance in Lok Sabha polls
but the latter refused to accept it and demanded 51 seats.

The two parties later decided to go it alone in the
coming polls to Kolkata Municipal Corporation and 80 other
towns.

PTI