This Article is From Jan 04, 2012

Congress targets Mamata again, plans rally in Kolkata today

Congress targets Mamata again, plans rally in Kolkata today
Kolkata: After the FDI, the pension bill and the Lokpal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress seem to be heading towards another confrontation. And this time the issue is Ms Banerjee seeking to rename Indira Bhavan, a building named after the former Congress Prime Minister, in Kolkata's Salt Lake. On Tuesday, the Youth Congress held a demonstration in protest as the West Bengal chief minister lashed out.

Now, barely a day after the fairly public fracas, the Youth Congress is planning a rally against the state government to protest low paddy support prices for farmers in the state.

Ms Banerjee reacted angrily to the protest yesterday, saying the Congress was working in tandem with the Left against her party. "Congress is protesting against renaming Indira Bhavan but they never protested when Indira Bhavan became Jyoti Bhavan, CPM's party office, during Jyoti Basu's regime for 34 years. Every day they are working with the CPM to block roads. Together they are slamming us every day, but I have never used strong words against Manmohan ji or Sonia ji," said Ms Banerjee.

While Ms Banerjee continued to breathe fire against the state Congress, the Congress high command downplayed the differences.

"There is no dispute with Trinamool Congress. We have a very good relationship with Trinamool Congress. But yes, there can be two different thoughts on the same topic. But to name those two thoughts as dispute is not correct," said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.

He also dismissed Ms Banerjee's claim of the Congress and the Left working in tandem behind the scenes against the Trinamool.

"The chief minister of West Bengal is saying the Congress and the Left are working in tandem. Congress is an ally of the Trinamool. We don't know in what perspective this statement has been made by the Trinamool. We agree Left was ally of Congress in UPA-1," said Mr Tewari.

Meanwhile, the Left speaking on the latest tension between the Trinamool and the Congress, says Ms Banerjee is weighing her options ahead of next Lok Sabha elections.

"In the wake of the UPA elections, Mamata Banerjee is weighing the strength of the BJP and the Congress and trying to find out what is going to come out and for the next round of Lok Sabha elections. She will decide accordingly because there's no principle, when Congress and Trinamool combined together; there was no point of agreement. When we supported the Congress-led UPA govt at Centre, it was based on a communal programme and now the Congress is moving away with the communal programme, there's no track and now after the failure in the economic front and so much of corruption, I think congress is fit for Trinamool, not for CPI(M)," said CPI(M)leader Mohd Salim.

The whole row started when Ms Banerjee proposed a name change for Indira Bhavan. She wanted the building to be renamed Nazrul Bhavan after the legendary Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul. The building was the official residence of the late West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu. But controversy erupted after the CPM vacated the building last week.

The Congress in Delhi is clearly walking on egg-shells, especially with the Trinamool planning to contest the Uttar Pradesh elections, not in partnership with the Congress. The way Congress-Trinamool ties are unravelling in Kolkata, Delhi may not be that far behind.