The rift between West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the Congress escalated to a new level in the state with Mamata saying that the ally in the state needs to decide whether it would like to remain in the alliance.
During the day, state Youth Congress president Mausam Noor took out a silent procession against Trinamool in south Kolkata. Raiganj MP Deepa Dasmunshi, known as a strong critic of Mamata, also took part in the procession.
“They need to decide whether they would be with us. If they can take out a rally so can we. We are strong enough to go alone and the people would decide. They must decide on which side they would like to be,” said Mamata Banerjee to a television channel on Friday.
Mamata’s remark comes within two weeks of her stand in the face of hike in petrol prices last week when she said that she is ready to pull out of the UPA government if the Centre keeps on raising prices of petroleum products ignoring their constant protests.
Before the West Bengal Assembly polls, Mamata used to criticise the Congress, repeatedly alleging that the party supports CPI(M) on the sly. On Thursday, West Bengal Pradesh Congress President Pradip Bhattacharjee criticised the state government for undermining the panchayat system and introducing bureaucracy to execute work.
Mamata Banerjee threatened to hit the streets against Congress if it continues with its anti-Trinamool tirade and rallies. She also said that in order to maintain alliance she and her party colleagues are not resorting to verbal attacks against the Congress.
“They are saying a lot of things against us. But we are refraining from doing so. Our workers are being attacked by their workers. We are not retaliating. We are tolerating it because we are allies. But if they take out rallies on the streets our boys and girls would do so,” she said.
On the issue of reported threat to her life by Maoists, Mamata said that on a number of occasions people planned to kill her but she is not perturbed.
“I am more concerned with the threat to the life of the people of Bengal. There is a joint conspiracy. A political party that has been alienated from the people is doing all such things. They are planning to kill me and my ministers and leaders,” she said.
In the bigger picture, among the thorny issues between Mamata and the Congress is her tussle with the Centre to extract a special financial package to her cash strapped state.