Pranab rubbishes allegation of Mamata`s non-performance

Pranab Mukherjee dismissed allegation by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee that Mamata Banerjee had failed to perform as a railway minister and predicted she would run the state well if she became the chief minister.

Last Updated: Apr 11, 2011, 22:37 PM IST

Kolkata: Senior Congress leader and Union
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday dismissed allegation
by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee that Mamata Banerjee had failed to
perform as a railway minister and predicted she would run the
state well if she became the chief minister.

"She is running the Railways well. She will also run the
state well if she becomes the chief minister," Mukherjee said
at a meet-the-press programme here.

Mukherjee`s support of the key UPA ally came at a time
when Bhattacharjee and other Marxist leaders focused on the
alleged non-performance by the railway minister and the poor
financial position of her ministry without taking her name at
campaign rallies.

Describing her as the leader of the Congress-Trinamool
alliance, Mukherjee predicted a `comfortable` majority for the
alliance.

Justifying his party`s decision to ally with Trinamool
despite being given only 65 out of 294 seats, he said, "We
think an opportunity has come to downsize the strength of the
Left Front to a minority."

He said that Left Front was losing people`s support which
was evident in a series of electoral debacles it suffered
including the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

In a message to Congress rebels whom he had threatened to
expel for six years for contesting against Trinamool Congress
candidates in Malda, North Dinajpur and Murshidabad districts,
he said, "People want a change and the voters were polarised
between the Left and the Congress-Trinamool alliance. The
rebels will lose their security deposits."

Mukherjee`s dire comments followed assertion of a party MP
from Murshidabad district that he was prepared to get even
suspended from the party for backing the rebels against
Trinamool Congress candidates in four constituencies in
Murshidabad.

"People are yearning for a change of the LF government
and those who are contesting as Independents should respect
people`s emotions," he said and warned of expulsion from the
party if they contested against official candidates, as per
the party constitution.

PTI