Tension between the Congress and Trinamool in West Bengal escalated on Tuesday after Mamata Banerjee personally railed against her ally at an impromptu press conference.
For the first time,she spoke on her opposition to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill that her party colleagues had criticised strongly in the Rajya Sabha last month. Why should I accept the model being offered by the Centre? I may have a stronger Lokayukta in the state, she said. The Central government had assured us that the option of Lokayukta would be left to the states…We do not want any interference of the Centre in the Lokayukta, the Chief Minister said.
Banerjee added that she spoke not only for West Bengal but also for other states,and for the federal structure of the country.
She also assailed the Congresss opposition to the state governments move to rename Indira Bhavan,the bungalow in Salt Lake where former CM Jyoti Basu lived until his death,after poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.
They are out on the streets every day,attacking me personally. I have never done this. Even if I criticise the Congress government,I never attack Manmohanji or Sonia Gandhi personally, Banerjee said. But I am going to be the last person to listen to sermons from Congress leaders, she added.
Playing down the tussle between the two parties,Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said in New Delhi,There is no bitterness in our ties with the Trinamool Congress. There are cordial relations. There can be two opinions on an issue but it is not appropriate to tar the difference of opinion as a rift.
He,however,sought to underline that the Congress was in alliance with the TMC in Bengal the same way Banerjee’s party was in alliance with the Congress at the Centre. He also stressed on the fact that the late Indira Gandhi was also the leader of Mamata Banerjee.
Tewari took a dig at TMCs plan to expand its base in other states by pointing out its dismal performance in Assembly polls in some states.