After Mamata’s visit to minority-dominated Murshidabad — a Congress bastion

Senior Congress leader in West Bengal and party MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Tuesday dared the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on its own.

He said the TMC’s “only goal” was to wipe out the Congress from the State.

“If the party [TMC] has the courage, then it should contest the 2014 elections alone. After taking the help of the Congress to capture power in the State, it does not need the Congress anymore,” Mr. Chowdhury said on the 59th foundation day of Chhatra Parishad, party’s student wing.

Mamata’s visit

His remarks assume significance in view of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s visit to Murshidabad district on Wednesday, her first since she assumed office 15 months ago.

Her visit is seen as an attempt to make inroads into the district —a Congress stronghold — ahead of the coming panchayat elections, which both parties have decided to contest on their own strengths.

‘Bid to divide people’

Mr. Chowdhury said a number of policies of the TMC-led government directed at minorities were an attempt to make a dent on the Congress support base in the Murshidabad, Malda and Uttar Dinajpur districts, where there was a high concentration of the minority population.

Attempts were being made to divide people on communal lines, he said referring to certain schemes of the State government such as providing honorarium to imams and the setting up of a hospital only for minorities in 24 Parganas district.

‘Support not forever’

The Congress’s support to TMC did not mean that it would continue to support the party for an indefinite period and that it would not criticise that party, Mr. Chowdhury said.

While people have started questioning Ms. Banerjee and the policies of the TMC-led government, she was busy criticising the judiciary, media and the Congress.

“People are asking what you have done for us. Colleges are being attacked and an incident of rape takes place every other day,” he said.

State Minister and former Congress president Manas Bhunia said that if any person, including the Chief Minister, believed that the Congress could be wiped out from the State, then the person was living in a fool’s paradise.