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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Didi eyes prime Opposition spot at the Centre

Saubhadra Chatterji and Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/ Kolkata, September 22, 2012
First Published: 00:32 IST(22/9/2012) | Last Updated: 00:33 IST(22/9/2012)

After snapping its three-year-old ties with the UPA, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee wants to take a harder anti-Congress stand to grab a prominent spot in the Opposition space at the Centre.

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Banerjee, however, wants to steer clear of the BJP and the Left in this effort.

"She has clearly told us that there should not be any coordination with these two parties even as we take on the Congress on common issues," Trinamool's senior leader Saugata Roy told HT.

While the Left is the prime opponent in West Bengal, Banerjee fears that coordination with the BJP might damage her minority vote bank.

The Trinamool also wants to quickly take to the people the issues over which it had withdrawn support from the Centre. Addressing a rural crowd at Gaighata-about 90 km from Kolkata-on Friday, Mamata vowed to lead the country in the anti-reforms battle.

"This attack on the poor (FDI in retail and fuel price hike) is even bigger than the reforms of 1991. They have set your kitchens on fire. Will you not take them on? I suggest tit for tat," Banerjee told the gathering.

"We'll hold a sit-in at Jantar Mantar on September 26 opposing FDI in the retail trade," Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said.

The Congress, however, tried to remain unperturbed against the TMC onslaught.

"It is their wish," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said when asked about the Trinamool's decision.

The Trinamool will also pitch its new battle around an old grouse of the Left: The Centre's neglect of Bengal.

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