It's Trinamool vs Congress in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee declares to contest 2024 polls alone and sparks a jolt in INDIA coalition!

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has on Wednesday - January 24 sparked a jolt in the opposition INDIA coalition by declaring that her party is ruling out the alliance with Congress in West Bengal and would contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls alone. Her announcement has astonished the Congress party and other opposition leaders when they are working hard to gain momentum to defeat the Modi-led BJP regime. 

Mamata Banerjee has been seen as a staunch critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and as one of the key leaders in building the nationwide coalition against the BJP rule. Ruling West Bengal for over a decade, she is a significant face in the country and is aspiring to expand her political influence beyond Bengal. When the Congress party proposed to form an united alliance to take on the BJP regime, Mamata was among a few leaders who were closely followed over their stand on endorsing the alliance.

As the Lok Sabha polls are getting close, the INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) coalition has been grouping up its leaders under an unanimous stand to defeat the BJP regime. Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge was named as the coordinator of the INDIA coalition recently and amidst there were differences of opinions between the leaders over the seat sharing and allocation, the leaders vowed to stand united as a potent opponent for the BJP. 

As the coalitions included political kingpins of several regional parties with different ideologies, their strength of being united in a long run was highly debated, thanks to some apparent dissents from the leaders including Mamata Banerjee and her Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar. Earlier, when Mamata Banerjee said that her party would offer only two seats to the Congress in West Bengal in the upcoming general elections, her statement sparked objections from the Congress leaders. 

It was a major point of tension that erupted in the opposition bloc and now, Mamata Banerjee has thrown a bombshell declaring that her party Trinamool Congress would stay out of the Congress alliance in Bengal in the Lok Sabha polls, though she maintained that she will be a part of the INDIA coalition. Her announcement has conferred talking points on BJP, that has been slamming the coalition as anti-India. 

On Wednesday, Mamata Banerjee furiously announced that her party would contest in all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal alone. She also announced that her party will defeat the BJP in West Bengal without forging an alliance. Taking the opposition leaders by surprise, Mamata Banerjee claimed that she has given several proposals to the Congress but they rejected them. She also slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's ongoing 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' for not informing her when it is going to enter her state. 

Mamata Banerjee said, "I had no discussions with the Congress. I have always said that in Bengal, we will fight alone. I gave them (the Congress) many proposals. But they rejected them. I am not concerned about what will be done in the rest of the country, but we are a secular party and in Bengal, we alone will defeat BJP." Speaking about the yatra which will enter West Bengal on Thursday, she said, "They are coming to my state. But didn't have courtesy to inform me, even though I am part of the INDIA bloc. So, there is no relations with me, as far as Bengal is concerned." 

"INDIA will be present in India but in Bengal, the Trinamool Congress will fight. In Bengal, it is only Trinamool that can teach the BJP a lesson. It can show the country the path to victory", Mamata Banerjee added. It has been reported that the Congress party has aimed to contest in at least 10 to 12 Lok Sabha seats but Banerjee rejected it and reportedly said to the Congress that it is an 'unjustified demand'. As Congress party has a worst electoral record in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee has said that only two seats can be awarded to the Congress. 

It is pertinent to note that the Congress party has won four Lok Sabha seats in 2014 polls but managed to win only two seats five years later. As Mamata Banerjee has now declared that it won't be in Congress alliance in the state, it has equally given an ordeal to the Congress party and a setback to the opposition alliance. Her declaration has not only sparked a collision in a coalition, it has also grabbed an attention from BJP with BJP leader Amit Malviya saying, "Mamata Banerjee’s decision to fight alone in West Bengal is a sign of desperation."