The Congress has dismissed the suggestion that its alliance with Raliway minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is in choppy waters.
The party said its alliance with the Left Front for the mayoral elections in Siliguri, about 500 km north of Kolkata in West Bengal, was a “local issue”.
Party insiders, however, admit that the alliance was a subtle warning to Banerjee, who has been a demanding ally.
The Congress and the Trinamool came together five months ago to defeat the Left in the 15th Lok Sabha elections. They also fought the local body elections in West Bengal together.
The Trinamool has 19 MPs in the Lok Sabha, while the Left has 24.
But when it came to the mayoral elections, the Congress chose to ally with the Left to get the mayor’s chair for its candidate Gangotri Dutta.
The Left also has been looking for an opportunity to drive a wedge between the Congress and the Trinamool, as the anti-Left combine will pose a challenge to its 32-year-long rule in the state in the 2011 assembly polls.
After being tricked in Siliguri, Mamata now accuses the Congress of “betraying the trust” of the people by joining hands with the Left, but she didn’t threaten to break the alliance.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi downplaying the incident, said the alliance with Trinamool was “stable and genuine”.