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HindustanTimes Sat,02 Aug 2014

War of words erupts after Jairam Ramesh’s remarks

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, October 03, 2013
First Published: 11:09 IST(3/10/2013) | Last Updated: 11:12 IST(3/10/2013)

A day after Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh alleged a tacit understanding between Trinamool and BJP, a war of words erupted with ruling party leaders denying any such possibility and flaying the Congress for its contradictory statements.

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Trinamool leaders upheld they would maintain equidistance from both BJP and Congress and also accused Ramesh of speaking in a different voice to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had remarked a few days back that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, while reacting to whether Congress would keep its doors open for Trinamool.

“Trinamool would stay 10,000 miles away from BJP. We would maintain equidistance from both BJP and Congress. But Congress leaders are issuing contradictory statements. On one hand, the Prime Minister says doors for an alliance are open and, on the other, the rural development minister says they won’t ally with us,” panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee remarked.

Veteran Trinamool MP Saugata Roy refused to attach much significance to either Singh or Ramesh’s statements.

“Though I respect both the Prime Minister and rural development minister, neither are significant figures politically. Our party has always been against corruption and the way scams have surfaced during Congress rule, we won’t align with them. The BJP has projected Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, a person whose name is directly associated with the Gujarat riots. We won’t align with them either,” Roy said.

But upping the ante on a Trinamool-BJP understanding was the CPI(M) on Wednesday. “Undoubtedly, BJP is soft towards Trinamool. The reason why the BJP withdrew its candidate from the Howrah Lok Sabha by-election is still not clear to us. Unmistakably, there was a secret understanding between the two parties in Howrah,” CPI(M) central committee member Mohammad Selim alleged.

“Even in the panchayat polls, both parties developed an alliance in certain blocks. More recently, a state minister shared the dais with Narendra Modi. It seems both chief minister Mamata Banerjee and BJP president are speaking in the same voice over their opposition to Congress. BJP wants to give a clear message to the Trinamool - your enemy is my enemy,” Selim said.

CPI(M) also accused BJP of trying to disturb communal harmony during the festive season. Selim, though welcoming the home ministry order to states to avoid harassment of Muslim youths in the name of fighting terror, questioned the timing of the same.-


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