The sharp division in the West Bengal Congress on any possible alliance with the ruling Trinamool Congress once again came to fore Wednesday as former state party president Manas Bhunia heaped praise on Mamata Banerjee for extending support on the National Herald issue even as his incumbent successor slammed the Chief Minister as an opportunist.
Bhunia also lashed out at CPM and particularly targetted party MP Md Salim for not standing beside the Congress on the National Herald issue. “Md Salim said they would not stand beside the Congress as it (National Herald issue) is an allegation of corruption. We strongly condemn such statements. This is vendetta politics,” Bhunia said.
“We are thankful to TMC and Mamata Banerjee for standing beside Congress. Though a small one, Mamata has made a statement against this vindictive attitude of the BJP,” he said.
“BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has created an unnecessary controversy and the entire Government of India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was attempting to attack and taint the reputation of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi,” he said.
Asked it there was a possibility of an alliance with TMC or CPM ahead of the Assembly polls in the state, he said at the moment they were concentrating on strengthening the party and fighting against the prevailing divisive mindset and political, religious intolerance of BJP.
“The issue of alliance, if any, will be decided by the central leadership and we will abide by the decision,” he said, adding that he personally felt that TMC was a nationalist party and was more acceptable than the CPM.
However, Bhunia’s praise of Mamata did not find favour with state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury, who at another function described the TMC chief as an “opportunist”.
“Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is a sheer opportunist as a political leader and would join hands with anyone to save her political existence. She became the chief minister of Bengal with the help of Congress but later said she could not believe that she had been with the Congress at one point of time. She had formed an alliance with the BJP saying that no one was untouchable and now she calls the same party communal. What else can be said about such a person,” Chowdhury said.
Chowdhury’s comments came at a time when Mamata met Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence in Delhi to wish her on her birthday.