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TMC to go solo in 2024 Lok Sabha elections, ‘desperate’ Congress still hoping for Mamata Banerjee’s change of heart

In the meantime, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh claimed, "Heated discussions keep taking place between the two parties but we respect Mamata Banerjee.”

On Friday (23rd February), Trinamool Congress (TMC) politician Derek O’Brien announced that the party will contest from all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal, thereby ruling out possible seat-sharing arrangement with I.N.D.I. Alliance partner Congress.

While speaking to PTI, Rajya Sabha MP made it clear that there was ‘no change’ in the stand of the Trinamool Congress about fielding candidates on all seats in West Bengal.

He added that TMC would also contest one seat in Meghalaya and a few others in Assam in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“A few weeks ago…West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stated that TMC is fighting all the 42 seats in Bengal. We are also in the fray in a few seats in Assam and the Tura Lok Sabha seat in Meghalaya. There is no change in this position,” emphasised Derek O’Brien.

In the meantime, a desperate Congress was seen clinging to the hope of having some level of seat arrangement with the TMC.

Veteran Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told ANI, “Discussions are underway. Our doors are always open for TMC. Mamata Banerjee and TMC have said that they want to strengthen INDIA Alliance and the biggest motive is to defeat the BJP”

He further added, “Heated discussions keep taking place between the two parties but we respect Mamata Banerjee.”

War of words between TMC and Congress over seat-sharing

On 2nd February this year, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee took potshots at the Congress party for its inability to win 40 seats on its own in the Lok Sabha and aspiring for a large seat-sharing arrangement in West Bengal.

“We do not even know whether Congress will win 40 seats (in the Lok Sabha). Do you have too much pride? I had promised to give you 2 seats (in Bengal). I had assured to make you win in those constituencies. But you said that 2 seats are not enough. Do you want us to give you all 42 seats in Bengal? Rejected. Since then, we have no relation or talks with the Congress,” she had remarked.

In January 2024, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury hit out at Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and called her an ‘opportunist.’

The development came following media reports that the TMC was planning to avoid seat-sharing with Congress and field candidates in all Lok Sabha constituencies.

He said, “We won’t fight the election with Mamata’s help. Congress knows how to fight on its own strength, and Mamata Banerjee should remember that it was with Congress’s support she came to power in Bengal.”

Reportedly, TMC had offered only 2 seats to the grand old party while it was hoping for a larger share of seats. Later, Congress scion Rahul Gandhi publicly snubbed Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for claiming that Congress would fight elections in West Bengal without the assistance of the Trinamool Congress.

While speaking about the matter during his ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, Gandhi remarked, “Mamata Banerjee is very close to me. Sometimes our leaders say something. Such comments won’t matter.”

He added that talks with the Trinamool Congress on seat-sharing in West Bengal for the 2024 Lok Sabha election were underway although Mamta Banerjee has clearly denied such assertions in her latest speech.

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