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Mamata refuses Somen Mitra's proposal

Trinamool Congress chief refuses Mitra's proposal of forming an alliance between Congress and her party to fight the CPI (M).

kolkata Updated: Apr 23, 2007 18:01 IST

The recent wooing by former PCC chief Somen Mitra to bring Mamata Banerjee and the Congress under one secular, progressive, democratic front has not found favour with the Trinamool Congress chief and the new messiah of the farmers in Bengal.

A bit surprised by the Somen Mitra overtures, Mamata feels this could be a Congress strategy to piggy ride her as they have lost out to the Trinamool Congress-led 'Save Farmers' Committee movements in Singur and Nandigram that is hogging the national limelight.

Mamata further believes that since Mitra is no longer the PCC chief, there is no reason to believe that the new front being floated by him is accepted to all.

"There is nothing new in the formation of anti-Left front forces to take on the Left Front here. I have repeatedly said this, but the Congress had dragged its feet. I don't know what has hit them now?" said a mocking Mamata.

What's more, since both Union External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi are saying nothing on these lines, Mamata says she is going to give importance to this theory only after a directive comes from the AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

"Frankly, the Bengal Congress is divided. And with the PCC without a chief, the senior leaders are going at each other's throat. So instead of uniting the Opposition forces, they should focus on uniting their own house. Moreover, I am not going to take any precondition, as I have always insisted, for being part of this front," said Mamata.

The Congress' precondition that Mamata should leave the NDA for being a part of a united front in Bengal is not acceptable to Mamata for the time being - though being with the NDA, she is keeping a distance with the BJP.

Mamata argues that Congress is with the Left in the UPA government at the Centre. But when she gave a cal to all political parties to unite to farmers of Singur and Nandigram, she never insisted on Congress leaving the UPA. "So why should the Congress dictate terms? Bengal can always have an independent political formula to fight the CPI(M)," said Mamata.

Mamata's dithering over Somen proposal is also because of the fact that she doesn't trust this man, who she thinks is responsible for her exit from the Congress in 1997. Somen-Mamata conflict goes back to the late nineties when Mamata challenged Somen's leadership in the Congress in 1997.

Mamata believes, Somen used unfair means to defeat her and then compelled her to leave the party. What's more, Mamata has not forgotten the treatment meted out to her by Somen when she struck an alliance with the Congress before the 2001 Assembly elections.

Much to Mamata's anguish when Somen failed to get tickets for all his candidates in the Assembly elections, he lashed out against Mamata by putting up Independent candidates in more than 100 seats against the Trinamool's official nominee.

This spoilt the whole spirit of one-to-one that Mamata and Congress had decided to give the CPI(M) in order to garner all the anti-Left votes. As a result of Somen move, many Mamata candidates lost in the triangular contest with the CPI(M).

"Mamata has not forgotten anything and show will think twice before accepting any Congress formula," said Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy.

First Published: Apr 23, 2007 17:56 IST