Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee ruled out any possibility of a merger of her party with the Congress with which it has an alliance in West Bengal.
During an informal chat with journalists, Ms. Banerjee agreed with the Congress’ perception that the victory in the by-elections in West Bengal was attributable to the alliance but shot down any possibility of her party merging with the latter in the years to come.
She made it clear that her party, the second largest constituent of the UPA, would maintain its identity and stick to its ideology. It would continue to be an ally of the Congress and support the coalition at the Centre. Ms. Banerjee pointed out that her party had a truck even with the BJP but never merged with it then.
The issue of the number of seats that the Congress and the Trinamool would contest in the Assembly elections will be decided later.
She said her party would not strive to pose itself as the big brother. The two parties were much like sisters.
Ms. Banerjee said her party intended to contest a few seats in Jharkhand and would consider a proposal for an alliance if the Congress were to propose it. She was quick to add that the Congress had not accepted her offers for an alliance in the other States as in Tripura.
She hinted at the possibility of tabling a white paper in Parliament during the coming winter session on the financial status of the railways during the past five years.