Kolkata: The Congress in West Bengal Tuesday suffered a jolt with its state working president Subrata Mukherjee announcing he would join the Trinamool Congress Wednesday.
Blaming the Congress for the failure of seat adjustment talks with the Trinamool for the coming city civic polls, Mukherjee said: “I knew they would not have an alliance with the Trinamool. One cannot fight the (state’s ruling) Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) from within the Congress. They are not in a position to fight the CPI-M.”
The former city mayor said he has over the years consistently stressed the need for an alliance between the two opposition parties to unseat the CPI-M-led Left Front from power.
“I cannot support a party which I hold responsible for the collapse of the talks.”
Praising Trinamool chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, Mukherjee said: “There can be no effective anti-CPI-M alliance in the state without her.”
If he sticks to his stand, this would be the second time that Mukherjee would leave the Congress to join the Trinamool. In 2000, Mukherjee joined hands with Banerjee, who made him city mayor the same year. However, ahead of the civic polls in 2005, Mukherjee quit Trinamool following differences with the party chief and returned to the Congress.
Political observers feel Mukherjee’s decision to get back to the Trinamool is prompted by a need to ensure his political survival as his base revolves around Kolkata, where Banerjee’s outfit is the principal anti-CPI-M force.
Mukherjee, however, categorically said he would not contest the Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls this time. “So obviously, I cannot be the mayor for this term.”