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‘I even went to meet Rahul Gandhi at 6 am’: TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee on alliance with Congress in Bengal

TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee has said that his party is keen to forge an alliance with the Congress in Bengal, for which he even went to meet Rahul Gandhi at his residence at 6 am. Abhishek, who is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, alleged that the Trinamool Congress candidates are the true representatives of the INDIA bloc in West Bengal.

The TMC is part of the INDIA bloc at the national level but could not finalize seat-sharing with the Congress in West Bengal despite repeated attempts by the ruling party in the state. The TMC blamed Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for the failure of the talks in the state.

“If I had not been serious, I would not have rushed to Rahul Gandhi’s residence in Delhi at 6 am. “We were ready to forge an alliance with the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal and despite state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s comments on our party for months, we have not responded for a long time,” he said on Saturday.

“We gave Congress until December, but we couldn’t wait indefinitely because we had to make preparations. Till December 31, 2023, no spokesperson of our party, including Mamata Banerjee, responded to what Choudhury said,” he added. Banerjee said the seat-sharing talks failed due to the belligerence of the state Congress.

Adhir Ranjan has repeatedly criticized Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and accused her of weakening the Congress in Bengal. Recently, he courted controversy after he appealed to people to vote for the BJP instead of the TMC.

The Congress, which had won two seats in 2019, wanted to contest seven to eight seats as part of the deal. However, the TMC reportedly offered only 2 seats. Later, the chief minister announced that she would contest all Lok Sabha seats.

The TMC is contesting all 42 seats. In 2019, the ruling party had secured 22, while the BJP won 18.

So far, voting has taken place in six seats: Coochbehar, Alipurduars, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Raiganj and Balurghat.

In the third phase, four seats — Maldah Uttar, Maldah Dakshin, Jangipur and Murshidabad — will go to polls on May 7.