CPI(M) won’t buy her claim it is to press State’s demands

Even as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tried to scotch speculation that her New Delhi visit would have a bearing on mending the broken relationship between her Trinamool Congress and the Congress, the CPI(M) said it was merely an attempt to “set the house in order with the Congress” before the Lok Sabha elections.

“I am not going to discuss any political matter with anyone,” Ms. Banerjee told journalists at the Secretariat here on Monday, emphasising that the only agenda was to press the State’s demands.

However, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra said Ms. Banjeree’s visit was “an attempt at bargaining with the Centre.”

“They [the Trinamool and the Congress] want to re-forge the alliance that is broken, in view of the Parliamentary elections which they think may be preponed,” Dr. Mishra said, adding the demands that Ms. Banerjee spoke about revealed her “points of bargaining.”

While the Left “fully supports” Ms. Banerjee on the demands she was making on behalf of the State, “she has not stated the actual truth,” Dr. Mishra alleged, adding the trip would be a chance for reaching an understanding with the Congress.

Asked why he was convinced that Ms. Banerjee’s visit would focus on political matters rather than development issues as stated by her, Dr. Mishra replied, “her political record” and “recent developments” suggested it.

On the one hand, the Centre had made a special grant of Rs. 9,000 crore to West Bengal last year and, on the other, Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh made critical comments about Ms. Banerjee during his recent visit to north Bengal, Dr. Mishra pointed out.

The CPI(M) leader said the Congress-Trinamool relationship tended to “blow hot and cold.”

“At present she has been isolated. She wants to put an end to this isolation,” he added.

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