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Mamata Banerjee breaks ties with Congress in West Bengal, to fight Lok Sabha polls alone

  • Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal and the leader of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), announced on Wednesday that her party would contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections without any alliance with the Congress or other parties in the state.
  • The decision came after a prolonged dispute over seat-sharing between the TMC and the Congress, which are part of the INDIA bloc, a coalition of opposition parties against the BJP-led NDA government at the national level.
  • The move has triggered reactions from various political quarters, with some expressing concern over the fate of the INDIA bloc, while others downplaying the rift and calling it a strategic move.



In a significant political move, Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal and TMC leader revealed on Wednesday that her party will contest in the Lok Sabha elections without any alliance with Congress or other parties from the state.

At a press conference in Kolkata, Banerjee said that the Congress rejected all her seat-recovery offers and she was ready to take on the BJP alone. She stated that TMC would contest from all the 42 seats in Bengal and would also be supporting the INDIA coalition at the national level.

However, it was reached after a long-standing dispute over seat sharing between the TMC and Congress which are both members of the INDIA bloc – an opposition umbrella against the NDA government at the national level. However, as per the TMC reports in both these elections, Congress won no seats and had less than five per cent of the vote. As opposed to this, the Congress asked for not less than 8-10 seats based on its past presence and political support in the state.

The discussion of seat-sharing complicated the talks as Banerjee was at odds with Chowdhury, who had not only attacked her but also termed that she was an opportunist and a dalalal (broker). Chowdhury had also demonstrated his wish to ally with the Left parties as opposed to the TMC in West Bengal.

The decision had stirred up responses from many political spheres, with some highlighting the fate of the INDIA bloc and others dismissing it as a strategic step. Shiv Sena, which is a coalition partner of the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra, noted that such a development should come as no surprise due to the lack of scope for Mamata to stick with the grand old party. The split between the TMC and Congress will be addressed by AAP, another member of the INDIA bloc, which concluded that both Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi want to ensure the victory for the opposition-led alliance. RJD, another INDIA partner called for a little patience and stated that maybe there was some certain context to Mamata’s statement. The NCP led by the convenor of the INDIA bloc, Sharad Pawar wondered why Mamata Banerjee took that strategic move and there was no issue in the opposition alliance.

The Congress went into a damage-control mode and stated that TMC was one of the pillars within the INDIA bloc, which could not have been thought about without Mamata Banerjee. The party expressed its confidence in the meaningful negotiations and that the INDIA group would have combated in Bengal as one unit. The party further stated that the core aim was to oust the BJP at both national and state levels; while entering West Bengal, the alliance would come with this purpose.

Mamata Banerjee’s unilateral move to contest the West Bengal elections has brought about another dynamic aspect in this state, which is already seeing an aggressive battle between the TMC and BJP parties. The BJP, which bagged 18 seats in the Lok Sabha elections and is seen as a major contender to the TMC, has been trying its best to win over voters’ affection through development and nationalism agenda along with alleging corruption issues from the ruling party. Meanwhile, the TMC has always been defending itself as the protector of the state’s image and culture against charges of BJP being divisive or communal. Now, the Congress and Left parties that controlled the politics in Tripura are marginalized to a corner of the state where it is also fighting for survival.

The elections to the Lok Sabha are scheduled to be held in April-May of 2024, with the results announced on May 23rd, 2024.

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