Won’t join Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra without seat-sharing formula: Trinamool

The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is likely to enter West Bengal on January 27

January 16, 2024 10:34 pm | Updated January 17, 2024 04:19 pm IST - New Delhi 

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party president Mallikarjun Kharge and other leaders during the launch of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Thoubal district of Manipur.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party president Mallikarjun Kharge and other leaders during the launch of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Thoubal district of Manipur. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Trinamool Congress is unlikely to join its INDIA bloc partner Congress’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra if the seat-sharing arrangement is not worked out between the two. 

The yatra, likely to enter West Bengal by January 27, will remain in the State for five days.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had written to heads of all INDIA bloc parties inviting them for the yatra. Speaking to The Hindu, a senior Trinamool leader said, “We cannot participate in a Congress event without an electoral understanding in place.” 

On December 19, the party communicated to the Congress that it will be able to concede only two seats, an offer that the Congress finds unpalatable. The Congress had fought the 2019 Lok Sabha poll with an electoral understanding with the Left Front and won two seats, cornering 5.67% of total vote share. The Trinamool Congress argues that barring the two seats the Congress won, the party has less than four per cent vote share in the remaining seats. The Left Front has already refused to ally with the Trinamool. 

Rahul confident

At a press conference in Nagaland, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, in reply to a specific question on the status of the seat-sharing arrangement in West Bengal, said, “The status of INDIA alliance is very good. We are in conversation with our partners, the issue of seat sharing is being taken up, those discussions are ongoing and I think they are going on quite well. Let us see where those discussions end but broadly a lot of these are quite simple and not complex. So I am confident that they will be resolved.”

However, as per the Trinamool sources, the conversation has come to a standstill. 

The Congress yatra has also created heartburn among INDIA allies, since the bloc, after its formation on June 23 last year at Patna, could not organise a joint rally. With the Congress engaged with the yatra till March 20, the likelihood of such an event is very bleak, derailing the bloc’s efforts to create a unified narrative.

“We are losing very valuable time that should have otherwise been utilised to construct the bloc’s campaign. Unless we present an effective alternative programme, we can’t mount an impactful challenge,” a senior Left leader said. 

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