"Mamata Banerjee Fears PM Will Be Upset": Congress After Ally Breaks Ranks

TMC Lok Sabha candidate List 2024: "The Indian National Congress has always wanted the INDIA group to fight the BJP together," Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said.

TMC Candidate List: The Congress hit back soon after Trinamool released the list.


Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress today announced candidates for all 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, snubbing Congress which had just days earlier said that "doors are still open" for seat-sharing talks for the upcoming elections.

The Congress and Trinamool are part of the INDIA bloc - an alliance of opposition parties that had come together to challenge the BJP in the upcoming elections. The snub today is in line with Mamata Banerjee's declaration that only her party can challenge the BJP in Bengal. The breakdown in talks with Congress over seats was another reason.

The Congress hit back soon after Trinamool released the list.

"The Indian National Congress has repeatedly declared its desire to have a respectable seat-sharing agreement with the TMC in West Bengal. The Indian National Congress has always maintained that such an agreement has to be finalised through negotiations and not by unilateral announcements," Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on X (formerly Twitter).  

"The Indian National Congress has always wanted the INDIA group to fight the BJP together," he added.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury launched a fierce attack on the Chief Minister, accusing her of sending a message to the PMO by not including Congress in the seat-sharing agreement.

"Mamata Banerjee has proven today that none of the political parties of India should trust a leader like her... Mamata Banerjee is in fear that if she continues to be in the INDIA alliance, PM Modi will be unhappy. By separating herself from the INDIA alliance, she has sent a message to the PMO, don't be unhappy with me, I am not standing to fight against the BJP," said Mr Chowdhury.

In its list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, Trinamool Congress dropped at least eight sitting MPs and brought in several new faces such as former cricketers Yusuf Pathan and Kirti Azad. Cricketer Yusuf Pathan will contest from the Baharampur Lok Sabha seat, a seat which Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has won five times. Fielding a popular figure from Mr Chowdhury's stronghold is also being seen as Trinamool's response to his repeated attacks on the party.

From the Basirhat Lok Sabha seat, where Sandeshkhali is situated, Trinamool fielded its former MP Haji Nurul Islam by dropping sitting MP Nusrat Jahan.

The Trinamool also renominated expelled Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra from Krishnanagar seat for the second consecutive term.

Congress and the Trinamool had been trying to figure out a seat-sharing arrangement in Bengal for months, but TMC walked off the table every time the grand old party demanded for than 3 seats in the state.

Owing to the tussle, Ms Banerjee did not join the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra passing through Bengal, depriving the INDIA bloc of showcasing optics that would have helped the alliance counter the BJP's political attacks over underlying conflict within the Opposition front.