Congress, Trinamool lock horns in Bengal

Congress, Trinamool lock horns in Bengal

The growing rift between the Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) became evident on Wednesday when West Bengal Congress leaders attacked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for accusing the Congress of double standards and criticising the Centre for withdrawing fertiliser subsidy.

The Trinamool Congress leadership, on its part, has decided to counter the political attack by hitting the streets on January 9 in protest against Congress’s attempts to malign its image. Trinamool sources said the party would organise a rally in the Esplanade area to expose its big ally, which is actually helping opposition CPM gain strength against the Trinamool Congress’s government. Mamata Banerjee will be the main speaker at the rally, sources said.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders continued their broadside against the TMC. Calling the Trinamool Congress CPM’s “B-Team”, Congress MP Deepa Dasmunsi said: “The Trinamool Congress joined hands with the CPM and BJP to oppose the Lokpal Bill in Parliament and allowing FDI in retail. So, we can say Trinamool is the B-team of the CPM.”

Referring to TMC’s opposition to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill in the Rajya Sabha, State Congress President and RS member Pradip Bhattacharya said that like the BJP and Left, the Trinamool Congress played the role of opposition.

Bhattacharya alleged that State Cabinet decisions were taken without consulting the Congress ministers and the Trinamool Congress was avoiding the formation of a coordination committee with its ally.

Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday attacked the Congress-led UPA of foisting a Lokayukta Bill of its choice. “It was told that the Centre would take into consideration the views of the Trinamool Congress and make amendments, but when the bill came it stipulated that the states may set up Lokayuktas according to the model determined by the Centre. “I can design a better model than the Centre. Why should I follow the central model,” she said.

At a rally in Central Kolkata, Congress leader and state irrigation minister Manas Bhuniya said:  “The Trinamool is making a false propaganda to malign Congress. The Centre is still giving Rs 235 subsidy on every LPG cylinder. It is also providing subsidy on other petroleum products. The Union government’s subsidy component on fertilisers alone is worth Rs 54,976 and yet it is criticised,” Bhuniya noted.

“The Centre will soon table the food security bill in Parliament which seeks to provide food items at subsidised rates to 70 per cent of the population. Do all these moves suggest that the Centre is anti-people?” Bhuniya asked.

Bhuniya’s reaction came after Mamata alleged that nearly 50 crore people associated with the retail sector were sought to be put at the mercy of foreign investors by the Centre’s proposal to allow FDI in retail. Recently, during the row over changing the name of Indira Bhawan to Nazrul Academy, Dasmunshi had said, “Banerjee is taking the Congress for a ride and trying to wipe out Congress from West Bengal.”

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