Not all lost between Trinamool, BJP?
Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, who recently finalised a seat sharing agreement with the Congress in West Bengal, is not burning her bridges with former ally BJP. Arindam Sarkar reports.Updated: Mar 08, 2009, 01:54 IST
Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, who recently finalised a seat sharing agreement with the Congress in West Bengal, is not burning her bridges with former ally BJP.
There’s a buzz in Bengal that the BJP may not put up a candidate against the Trinamool Congress chief, who will contest from the South Kolkata parliamentary seat.
The big question is whether Banerjee and her party will return the favour by opting out of the contest for the Krishnanagar seat in Nadia district, 75 km from Kolkata, from where former Union minister and state BJP president Satyabrata “Jolu” Mukherjee will contest.
A senior politician close to the developments said: “The Congress is keeping open its options of forming a coalition government with the Left. So, it isn’t unwise on Banerjee’s part to keep her options open with the NDA.”
On Friday, Mukherjee and other senior BJP leaders held a meeting with BJP prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, who was in town to address party workers at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.
The saffron party is likely to contest in 25 to 30 Lok Sabha seats of West Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats. A majority of these are in the border areas of the state, stretching from Nadia in south Bengal to Malda in north Bengal, where the Trinamool Congress is not strong.
In the 1998 and 1999 Lok Sabha elections, former Union ministers Mukherjee and Tapan Sikdar of the BJP had won the Krishnanagar and the Dum Dum parliamentary seats, respectively. This time too, the two are contesting from these two seats. The expectation in the BJP is that if Banerjee does not give these two parliamentary seats to the Congress, she should put up weak candidate against them.
The central leadership of the BJP central will meet on March 11 in Delhi to finalise the second, and final, list candidates for West Bengal. It has already announced candidates for 17 seats.