Kolkata, March 3 (IANS) Accusing the Congress of total negligence in contesting the Tripura Assembly elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said she had approached Congress President Rahul Gandhi for alliance but was not listened to.
“I requested the Congress for a coalition (in Tripura). I told Rahul Gandhi that we are new as a party in Tripura. So let’s unite Congress and Trinamool Congress and the hill parties there to fight the election together. But they did not listen to me,” Banerjee said in the wake of Bharatiya Janata Party’s thumping victory in Tripura.
“The Congress showed total negligence in Tripura and did not accept my proposal. As a result they are languishing with 1.8 per cent votes. It is a matter of shame for them,” the Trinamool Congress supremo said.
Banerjee clarified she had proposed seat-sharing agreement with the Congress and other hill parties in Tripura to keep the BJP at bay.
“I also proposed seat adjustment there. I told the Congress that my party is ready to fight 14 seats, let the local hill parties contest 16 seats and you (Congress) fight the rest 30 seats. If such a platform could be formed, getting 15-20 per cent vote share would have been easy. But the Congress did nothing. They supplied oxygen to the BJP,” she revealed.
“If the coalition had happened, I would have held six or seven public meetings there. Maybe, the whole complexion of the election would have changed. But I did not get that chance,” she said.
Terming BJP’s victory in Tripura as “insignificant” vis-a-vis the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Banerjee said the inactivity by the Congress and total surrender by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist has led the BJP to the victory.
She also accused the BJP of tampering with electronic voting machines and expressed surprise on CPI-M’s silence on the issue.
“I do not know why they did not protest EVM tampering. Why did they not lodge a single complaint to the Election Commission? Is it because they were threatened to be heckled by central agencies? The whole thing is a mystery,” she said.
Earlier, she refused to give any credit to the BJP for its historic victory in Tripura, and termed Saturday’s result as “CPI-M’s loss”.
Banerjee also accusing the ruling party at the Centre of showering money in Tripura and misusing central forces in its favour during the elections.
Taking a swipe at BJP leaders and activists, the Bengal Chief Minister said: “Some are trying to highlight BJP’s victory in Tripura but it is not a big thing. Tripura is a small place with 25 lakh people. A small district like Howrah in West Bengal has more than 38 lakh voters. So there is no point getting overenthusiastic about this victory.”