'Collapse of civic poll ties with Trinamool won't impact centre' | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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'Collapse of civic poll ties with Trinamool won't impact centre'

West Bengal Congress chief Pranab Mukherjee today ruled out any effect at the centre or next year's state assembly polls of the collapse of the alliance with the Trinamool Congress for the civic elections.

kolkata Updated: May 11, 2010 22:34 IST

West Bengal Congress chief Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday ruled out any effect at the centre or next year's state assembly polls of the collapse of the alliance with the Trinamool Congress for the civic elections.

"It would not be correct to equate the municipal polls with the Lok Sabha or assembly elections. In municipal polls the issue is civic amenities, not politics. But Lok Sabha and assembly polls are much bigger stages," Mukherjee told reporters in Kolkata.

"We had seat adjustments with the Trinamool in last year's Lok Sabha polls. I myself played a leading role in that. After the results were out, they (Trinamool) joined the government. They are our respected partner in the central government," Mukherjee said.

He said the way the CPI-M flexed muscle and finally withdrew support from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in the 14th Lok Sabha, there was need to lodge a strong protest.

"We felt if we can contain them in West Bengal and Kerala, their strength will go down. This is exactly what happened. The strength of the Left and the CPI-M is vastly reduced now," the union finance minister said.

Mukherjee said his party had tried to enter into a seat adjustment with the Trinamool for the May 30 municipal polls, but it failed.

"It's unfortunate. But we don't want to blame anyone. We want to win the maximum number of seats. There is no need to make any advance prediction of the post-poll situation," he said.

Mukherjee said his party would urge the people to support other anti-Left candidates in the seats where the Congress has not fielded nominees.

Mukherjee said he only took part in the initial discussions with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee for the municipal polls tie-up.

"However, we had decided that the tie-ups for the civic polls will be finalised by our local leaders. So I did not take part in the talks held later," he said.

Mukherjee, however, took responsibility for the way the seat adjustment parleys proceeded finally resulting in the two parties going their own way. "Though I was not present in the talks, whatever has happened is my responsibility. Those who took part in the discussions consulted me regularly."

The two parties have failed to forge alliances in none of the 82 civic bodies including the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) which are slated to go to polls.