The Trinamool Congress, which won four of the six civic bodies in different parts of West Bengal that went to the polls on Sunday, said here on Tuesday that it has the strength to rule the State and fight the next elections on its own.
It won control of the civic bodies at Dhupguri, Durgapur, Nalhati and Panskura, but lost in Cooper's Camp and Haldia.
“The Trinamool Congress fought this elections alone against not only the CPI (M) but also other political parties…We have got enough strength to rule Bengal and fight the next elections alone,” all-India general secretary and Railway Minister Mukul Roy told journalists, sparking a fresh row between the two partners in the Mamata Banerjee government.
‘Welcome to snap ties'
Reacting to Mr. Roy's comments, the State leadership of the Congress said the Trinamool was “welcome to snap its ties with the Congress and go it alone.”
“The Trinamool Congress is forgetting that its strength in the Lok Sabha and the State Assembly is based on the support of both parties in the alliance. If it is so confident of winning the elections alone, its MPs and legislators must resign and seek re-election without the support of the Congress,” said Omprakash Mishra, general secretary of the Congress in the State.
The Trinamool and the Congress contested the civic polls separately for the first time after the alliance came to power with an overwhelming majority in the 2011 Assembly elections.
Referring to the results of the municipal polls, Mr. Roy said the party won in 72 of the 129 wards where elections were held. “The other political parties should do some introspection as they have become politically irrelevant,” he said in an oblique reference to the Congress.
Mr. Roy claimed that the results were an indicator of the party's strength “and it can stand on its feet in West Bengal.”
While the Congress has retained the Cooper Camp civic body in Nadia district, the Trinamool leadership is particularly upset at the Congress apparently playing spoilsport in Haldia in Purba Medinipur district. Not only had the Congress put up candidates in each of the civic bodies that went to the polls, it had been critical of the Trinamool Congress for threatening and intimidating its candidates and supporters in the run-up to the elections.
*This report has been corrected for a spelling error