Amid reports of hard bargaining in the seat-sharing talks within the opposition INDIA bloc, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday told party workers from Murshidabad district that the party is gearing up to contest all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, sources in the TMC said.
Notably, Murshidabad region with a significant minority population is traditionally seen as a Congress stronghold with state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury hailing from there.
In the last Lok Sabha elections, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury from the Congress won from Berhampore seat in Murshidabad. The TMC won the other two seats of Jangipur and Murshidabad. Along with the TMC, the two main parties of West Bengal —the Congress and the Left Front — are in the INDIA bloc, which is opposed to the BJP.
“If you all fight unitedly, you can defeat Adhir Chowdhury,” Mamata Banerjee reportedly told TMC workers in the closed-door meeting, according to sources in the party. “She (Mamata Banerjee) said that Trinamool Congress is one of the biggest partners of the INDIA alliance. If Congress favors anyone else in Bengal, Trinamool will think for itself. Preparations should be made to fight in all the 42 constituencies in the state,” a senior TMC leader said.
Party leaders said that Mamata Banerjee hinted that with the seat-sharing talks yet to finalise, there is a strong likelihood of TMC going alone in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal. “You prepare to contest from all the seats in Lok Sabha election,” Banerjee reportedly said at the meeting.
Recently, Adhir had challenged Mamata Banerjee and said, “If you have the power, come and stand in Berhampore”. Reacting to the report of Mamata’s message to TMC workers of Murshidabad, Chowdhury said: “Mamata Banerjee can win seats with muscle power but cannot win people’s hearts. People are with us in Murshidabad.”