The Trinamool Congress today rebutted Congress leader P Chidambaram on his comment denying any "concrete offer of an alliance" in Goa for the February-March election. Pavan Varma, the leader who met with the Congress veteran.
"I met Mr Chidambaram in Delhi on December 24, at 1.30 pm. During that meeting, I made a concrete proposal that in order to strengthen the opposition space, the Trinamool and the Congress should form an alliance," Trinamool Congress leader Pavan Varma told NDTV, asserting that his party leader Mamata Banerjee is interested in a strong, unified opposition.
"I am dismayed, disappointed and also surprised at the manner in which Mr Chidambaram, a senior Congress leader who has been Finance Minister and Home Minister, is attempting to mislead people through a statement on public TV that is far removed from the truth," he said.
Mr Chidambaram had earlier said there was "no concrete offer but a suggestion that there should be an alliance."
"If there was anything between the two principals (Sonia Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee), I would not know unless I was told by one of them. I was not told about any concrete offer. To the best of my knowledge, there was a suggestion that we should work together. But there was no concrete offer, no discussion on seat sharing or who would lead the alliance...," the senior Congress leader said.
Mr Verma called the statement a "public untruth" and said he had met with Mr Chidambaram at his official home in Delhi.
"I made a concrete offer to him in person that we should form an alliance in Goa as a united opposition. This was a concrete offer from my party to the Congress. Once they agreed in principle to the proposal, the other details would be worked out," said the Trinamool Congress leader.
"Mr Chidambaram said it was above him to respond to such an offer and he would have to take it to his leadership. The next day he said he had spoken to his leader Rahul Gandhi, who accepted that I order to take this further and the two principals need to speak," Mr Varma told NDTV.
Rahul Gandhi was not in India at the time and Mr Varma said he was told that only he could take the call. "Upon Rahul Gandhi's return, I spoke again with Mr Chidambaram and said please expedite the process of forming an alliance. But nothing was done to this effect till now," said the Trinamool Congress leader.
"Now he is saying on national TV that there has been no concrete proposal from us - that is simply the untruth. I can tell you this with certainty since I was personally involved."
The Trinamool-Congress row over their still-born partnership in Goa snowballed last week as Trinamool leader Mahua Moitra and Mr Chidambaram argued in tweets.
Mahua Moitra, Trinamool's Goa in-charge, had first tweeted everyone should unite in their fight against the BJP and had tagged the Congress.
Mr Chidambaram said the formula to defeat the BJP should be "Congress plus others, not others plus Congress."
Ms Moitra then retorted that "no one should be on their high horse" as the need of the hour was to defeat the BJP.
In response:— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) January 14, 2022
1. AITC already made formal & definitive offer to INC on Goa to defeat BJP
2. INC leadership asked for time to revert. This was almost 2 weeks ago
3 If Mr. Chidambaram not aware of details he should talk to his leadership rather than making these statements. https://t.co/qRFmqeGDUz
"In response: 1. AITC already made formal & definitive offer to INC on Goa to defeat BJP; 2. INC leadership asked for time to revert. This was almost 2 weeks ago; 3. If Mr. Chidambaram not aware of details he should talk to his leadership rather than making these statements," she tweeted.