The CPM’s support to Pranab Mukherjee for the presidential poll may further sour relations between the warring allies, the Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC), according to some TMC leaders.
If West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee veers closer to the NDA, this support might be cited as one of the contributing factors, they pointed out.
The CPM politburo decided to support Mukherjee on Thursday in a move seen as driven by the so-called Bengal lobby. Banerjee has always alleged there was a tacit understanding between the CPM and the Congress that had helped the former to rule Bengal for 34 years.
TMC might also highlight the understanding in its panchayat poll campaign, said a leader.
“It seems that by supporting Pranab Mukherjee, the CPM is atoning for its sins of 2008, when it withdrew support from the Centre. It will have a negative impact on our relationship with the Congress,” said Sishir Adhikari, a Union minister and TMC core committee member. “The effect of this move will continue well beyond the presidential polls and even into the upcoming panchayat polls.”
Banerjee was already peeved when Mukherjee called on former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee soliciting support for his presidential candidature. “If they can reach out to the Left, we can talk to others (NDA), too,” Banerjee had said last week in New Delhi.
Sources said Banerjee was also angry with the Congress speaking to individual TMC MPs and MLAs seeking support for Mukherjee.
“By joining hands with the CPM, the Congress has shown its real face. However, people of Bengal are with Mamata Banerjee,” said state food minister Jyotipriyo Mullick.