Mamata for early state polls; CPM says no

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 20:19

Kolkata: Inflicting a humiliating defeat
on the CPI(M)-led Left Front in the civic elections in West
Bengal, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today
demanded advancing of the 2011 assembly elections and said she
favoured a `grand alliance` for it.

"I have faith on the Congress leadership. I want to
keep up relations with the UPA government," she told a press
conference here.

The alliance between the two parties had floundered
over the elections to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, which
was held along with 80 other civic bodies on Sunday and the
results of which were declared today.

Asked about alliance with the Congress for the
assembly elections, she said, "I can`t say anything about
tomorrow. I am not a political astrologer. I am always open
for alliance. I am in favour of a mahajote (grand alliance).
Let us see what happens."

"Elections can be held within six months (from the
scheduled date). "The CPI(M) has lost all right to continue in
power. Assembly elections should be held immediately.

"As per the Constitution, the matter comes under the
Election Commission six months prior to elections. Since
assembly elections are due in some states in October, it can
decide that those in West Bengal can be held along with it. I
have calculated six months from May (when the assembly
election is due)," she said.

Stating that Lok Sabha elections had given signs that
CPI(M) could be defeated, Banerjee said, "in the LS polls, it
was easier for us because we fought in alliance (with
Congress).

Taking a swipe at Congress over the failed alliance for
the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections, she said, "But in
this election, we had to fight the CPI(M), Congress and BJP."

Without naming the Congress, she said, "We did not break
the alliance. Someone has broken it. Yet, our performance was
hundred times better."

She said the CPI(M) had earlier lost 10 assembly
by-elections and won only 16 municipalities out of 81 in the
civic polls. "They should accept people`s verdict."

She said there was no change in the state in the last 34
years as the "people were not allowed to vote. We fought a
hard battle in which many of our workers were killed. Politics
is a struggle. The people have seen our struggle. It is a
marvellous victory".

Banerjee attributed her party`s victory to the
`ma-mati-manush` (mother, land and people) slogan for change
in the state. "People have given a verdict in favour of
political change in the state. I salute the people."

Results no basis for early polls: CPM

The CPI(M) today accepted defeat but said the results were not a basis for demanding advancement of assembly elections in the state.

Noting that the civic elections were held in urban areas
only, senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury admitted that the
results were a setback to the Left Front as the reverses of
the Lok Sabha have not been reversed, but only arrested.

Observing that the entire electorate in the civic polls
accounted for only 17 per cent of the total electorate, he
said, "It is less than one-fifth of the total state
electorate. 83 per cent of the people did not participate in
these elections. So, this does not constitute any basis for
demanding advancement (of assembly elections)".

He was replying to questions on TC chief Mamata Banerjee`s
demand for advancing the assembly polls scheduled in mid-2011.

In a tongue-and-cheek remark aimed at the Railway
Minister, he said, "Let us hope now that the municipalities in
Bengal will be run better than the Indian Railways".

Yechury said, "We accept the people`s verdict in the civic
elections. But we would also point out that our vote
percentage has shown marginal improvement of over four per
cent than the last Lok Sabha elections".

"It shows that the trend seen in the Lok Sabha elections
has been arrested but not reversed," he said, adding that the
party would soon review and introspect on the civic poll
outcome to decide on the road ahead.

Replying to a spate of questions on the municipal polls,
Yechury said the anti-Left votes "always get consolidated even
without a `mahajot` (TC-Congress unity)."

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 20:19

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