In a sign of fissure within the Opposition INDIA bloc over seat-sharing, West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has hit out at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, asserting that she was "busy serving" Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Chowdhury also said Banerjee did not want an alliance with the Congress and stated that the grand old party can contest elections on its own in the general election.
"We did not ask for alms. Mamata Banerjee herself said she wanted an alliance. We do not need Mamata Banerjee's mercy. We can contest elections on our own. Mamata Banerjee actually doesn't want an alliance as she is busy serving PM Modi," he told reporters.
The Congress leader made the comments when asked about the Trinamool Congress (TMC), according to sources, offering two seats to the Congress in West Bengal for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Sources told India Today TV that the TMC believed that the dominant party in the state should be allowed to take the final call on seat-sharing.
The seat-sharing number, as per sources, is based on a clear formula involving a look at the forthcoming parliamentary election and a look at state assembly polls.
The TMC also reiterated their choice of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge as INDIA bloc convenor. Party sources said that while the party did not have anything against Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar, it believed that Kharge would have a better impact as the Opposition alliance’s convenor.
The TMC also believes that Kharge, who hails from the Dalit community, is the better option as he can wield influence in 58 seats, sources said.
During the meeting of the Opposition INDIA bloc, held in Delhi in December, it was decided that the seat-sharing talks for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections should be finalised at the earliest.
The TMC had sought the seat-sharing details to be finalised by December 31, 2023. The deadline has since passed, with the INDIA bloc yet to arrive at a consensus on seat-sharing.