TMC appeals to Left-Cong to fight 'bigger evil' BJP, gets rejected

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Kolkata, Feb 13 (PTI) The Trinamool Congress on Saturday appealed to the Left Front-Congress alliance not to invite the 'bigger evil' BJP to settle scores with it in the poll-bound state.

The Left and Congress, however, rejected the appeal outright and termed TMC as the 'B team' of the saffron camp in Bengal.

This is the second time in the last one month that TMC has appealed to the Left and Congress to put up an united fight against BJP in the coming assembly polls in the state.

BJP has expressed elation over the proposal and said it proves that the saffron party is the only alternative to TMC in the state.

Election to the 294-member state assembly is due in April-May.

'If the Left Front and the Congress are genuinely anti-BJP they should be behind Mamata Banerjee in her fight against the communal and divisive politics of the saffron party,' West Bengal Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Tapas Roy said here.

'While opposing Mamata Banerjee and TMC they should not commit the mistake of inviting the bigger evil BJP in Bengal. They should look at the situation in Tripura and decide what to do,' he said.

This is not the first time that TMC has spoken in favour of a united platform of the party along with the Left and Congress to fight BJP. Several other TMC leaders had done so earlier.

Reacting to TMC's proposal, state senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan blamed the party for the growth of BJP in Bengal.

'We are not interested in aligning with the TMC. Why is the TMC now interested in an alliance with us after poaching our MLAs for the last 10 years ? It is due to Mamata Banerjee that the BJP has gained strength in Bengal,' he said.

Senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said both BJP and TMC are trying to woo Left votes after branding the Left and Congress as a negligible political force in the state.

'Both TMC and BJP are now either praising the Left or are seeking our support. It only reflects that we are still a force to reckon with,' he said.

The Left and Congress will defeat both TMC and the BJP in the next elections, Chakraborty asserted.

The BJP in its turn said TMC's appeal proves that the ruling party in West Bengal cannot put up a fight against the saffron party on its own.

'It also proves the desperation of TMC. They can't fight against us on their own so they are seeking help from other parties. It also proves that BJP is the only alternative to the TMC,' BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said.

The Left and Congress had aligned to fight against BJP and TMC in Bengal after being pushed to the corner in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The CPI(M)-led Left Front had drawn a blank and the Congress had managed to bag just two out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

The BJP had on the other hand bagged 18 seats - four less than TMC to emerge as the prime challenger to the ruling party in the state.

In the 2016 assembly polls, the Left and Congress had come together and bagged 76 seats. TMC had bagged 211 seats.