Kolkata: After its poor showing in the Uttar Pradesh polls, the Congress appears to be softening its stand towards ally Trinamool Congress. This is already evident in West Bengal where the state Congress chief, who had adopted a belligerent posture until recently, is now saying the two parties are "natural allies".
"I don`t think the results will have an impact now. The Congress-Trinamool equation in the state is a separate matter," West Bengal Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya said.
"Had we done better in Uttar Pradesh, there would have been an impact in West Bengal. We would have then got additional support, backing of the high command. Our workers would have got more inspiration. That we won`t get now. This is the only difference the poll outcome has made," Bhattacharya said.
The Trinamool partners the Congress in New Delhi as well as West Bengal.
The Congress won only 28 seats in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly.
Bhattacharya had earlier lashed out against the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool, alleging an individualistic style of functioning on her part, not giving due importance to Congress ministers, the inept performance of Trinamool ministers, farmer suicides in the state, law and order and rampant violence.
But Thursday, he softened his stand.
"They are our natural allies. Our common opponent in the state is the Left Front."
"Yes, we do have difference of opinion on issues. When there is some disturbance we oppose the state government (led by the Trinamool with Congress as the junior partner). We never said we don`t recognise the alliance or we want to walk out on it. We know we are in an alliance, and we cannot go our separate ways."
"But I do reiterate that though the results may have weakened our position temporarily, the condition in West Bengal is different. The equation between the two parties would remain what it was," he added.
Political observers feel after its poor showing in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa, the Congress would now be more dependent on the Trinamool - which has 20 MPs in the Lok Sabha and six in the Rajya Sabha - to run the central government.
Trinamool has been stiffly opposing key central legislation and policies, including the Lokpall bill, foreign direct investment in retail and pension bill, as also the proposed land bill.
The Teesta river accord between India and Bangladesh got stalled after Banerjee expressed strong reservations about the amount of water to be given to Bangladesh.
Late last month, she termed the Central government`s proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre as an affront to the federal structure of the constitution, sending the issue into cold storage.