‘No alliance with Cong in Bengal now’

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said Congress as "agents" of CPI-M on Sunday in West Bengal.

Kolkata: Dubbing Congress as "agents" of
CPI-M, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee on Sunday rang down the
curtain on her alliance with the Congress for the May 30 civic
polls in West Bengal, saying there can be no friendly fight in

She, however, stated that Trinamool`s alliance with the
UPA at the Centre would continue and remain "as long as we can
get due honour".

Squarely blaming the Congress for the failure to clinch
the seat-sharing understanding for the Kolkata Municipal
Corporation, she told a press conference here, "We cannot have
any truck with those who are giving the CPI(M) oxygen. We will
not leave an inch to them."

Banerjee, who announced candidates for all 141 seats
in the KMC, said in war there cannot be any friendly fight.
"Congress has broken the alliance. No longer there exists
any alliance in Bengal."

"Those, who have broken the alliance, should take the
responsibility for it. They should realise we will have our
own way. And we will take decisions in our own way. If we
have to bow down, we will do it before the people. We will not
do so to the agents of the CPI(M)," she said.

She observed her party was in the UPA government because
it was not a one-party government. "Congress is a major
constituent and leading the government. But Congress has 206
MPs and not the magic number of 273," she said.

"In the interest of the alliance, we have tolerated a
lot. We have not disturbed the government in Delhi. And in
future also we will not do so till we will be able to remain
there with due honour," Mamata said.

She said the Congress may be a major party at the Centre,
but in West Bengal "we are a big party".

"If anyone thinks that by abusing us they will help the
CPI(M), I am not going to bow down," a visibly angry Banerjee

Asked if the breakdown of the alliance will help the
Left, she said, "Our fight is against the CPI(M). Regarding
whether this will help the CPI-M, ask those who are helping

Banerjee, who is Railway Minister in the UPA government,
alleged that Congress leaders in West Bengal had been abusing
her party publicly.

"Just because we have entered into an alliance doesn`t
mean they can say or do anything. It`s not a Congress
government, it`s a UPA government and the Congress has 206
seats," she said in an oblique reference to its status as the
second largest UPA constituent with 19 Lok Sabha seats.

"There are other constituents also like the NCP, DMK
and Muslim League," she said.

In the candidates` list released by Banerjee today, the
Trinamool Congress fielded 76 new candidates -- 54 of them
women and 27 from the minority community.

The elections will take place in the Kolkata Municipal
Corporation and 82 other municipalities across the state on
May 30.

Apparently questioning the intention of the Congress in
Bengal to genuinely fight the CPI(M), she said, "We had left
Congress and formed Trinamool Congress to fight against the
CPI(M). We will prefer death to helping the CPI(M)," Banerjee

Taking a swipe at the Congress` list of nominees for
the KMC polls, she said it was surprising that it did not put
up candidates in the seven wards which fall in the Jadvapur
assembly constituency of West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb

She said winds of political change were blowing in West
Bengal which was evident by the Left defeat in a string of
elections and "Even if the Congress, BJP and CPI(M) joined
hands it would not help stopping dislodging of CPI(M) (from
power). The Left is already left out in West Bengal".

"We were opposed to the principle of pick and choose. We
do not have any MP in north Bengal, so we conceded Congress
demands for not even contesting a single seat in Murshidabad
and Malda".

"Similarly we expected the same principle to be followed
in south Bengal where we have 19 MPs," she said.

Banerjee`s hard-hitting comments against the Congress
came a day after the state Congress announced the list of 88
candidates for KMC polls following green signal from the party
high command.

This followed a high drama when presidents of the five
district committees of the party had gone on a fast at the
PCC headquarters here demanding "honourable terms" for the
seat-sharing for the May 30 Kolkata Municipal Corporation

Trinamool Congress had offered them only 25 out of the
141 wards. The state Congress had claimed 51 wards including
ones where it either came first or second in the last KMC
polls in 2005.