The All India Trinamool Congress has said it was doing fine on its own and would fight the Lok Sabha elections on its own. The party’s comments, coming from its all India general secretary Mukul Roy and its chief whip in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien, gain significance in context of the observations made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday that an alliance could not be ruled out.
“We are carrying on well enough on our own and the people are with us,” Mr. Roy told reporters at the party office.
Dr. Singh had said in response to reporters’ queries on his way back from the G20 meet that he was not ruling out an alliance with the Trinamool Congress, adding that in politics there were no permanent friends or enemies. The Trinamool Congress had been the Congress’ biggest ally with its 19 MPs in the Lower House. It walked out of the United Progressive Alliance II coalition in September 2012 protesting the Centre’s policies.
‘Thanks, but no thanks’
Reacting to Dr. Singh’s comments, Mr. O’Brien posted on micro blogging site Twitter: “Prime Minister has not ruled out a Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. We are doing just great on our own. So thanks Sir... but no thanks.”
He later told reporters, “The people of Bengal gave us an overwhelming mandate in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the 2011 Assembly elections, the bypolls and the recent rural polls, which the Trinamool Congress has swept on its own fighting against the Congress, the Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party. We won 13 out of the 17 districts,” he said.
“Mamataji has given the call for an alliance after the elections. Her call for an alliance to run a corruption-free government will be successful,” the MP said.
State Congress strengthening itself
Manas Bhunia, senior State Congress leader, said while adopting a wait and watch policy on the issue, the State Congress was now concentrating on strengthening the party organisation.
He said that Dr. Singh had correctly said a strong and secular government at the Centre was necessary.
While reiterating that Mamata Banerjee had unilaterally severed relations with the Congress last year, Mr. Bhunia said “We strongly believe that the UPA III will form the government at the Centre next year.”