Union minister sees Mamata Banerjee, Bhagwant Mann remarks as ‘collapse of INDIA bloc’

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagawant Mann had announced their parties' decision to go solo in the 2024 LS polls.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jan 24, 2024 | 7:26 PMUpdatedJan 24, 2024 | 7:28 PM

Union Minister of State L Murugan.

Union Minister of State L Murugan on Wednesday, 24 January, claimed that the Opposition bloc Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) will soon collapse.

Earlier in the day Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee had announced her party’s decision to go solo in her home turf of West Bengal in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

“I had no discussion with Congress. I have always said that in Bengal we will fight alone. I have given them (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 will defeat the BJP alone,” Banerjee told reporters on Wednesday.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagawant Mann also said that the Aam Admi Party (AAP) would be going it alone in the state for the upcoming polls.

The TMC and the AAP are part of the INDIA bloc with the Congress, the CPI(M) and other parties.

Neither the TMC nor AAP have withdrawn from the INDIA bloc but find it politically more savvy to contest against other INDIA bloc constituents -who are their direct political contenders –  instead of ceding space for BJP to emerge as the only alternative.

The Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying – Murugan-  was speaking at the Erode station to inaugurate the extension of the unreserved express train from Erode to Tirunelveli to Sengottai

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‘INDIA alliance will break soon’

“The INDIA alliance formed by Opposition political parties will break soon. Following West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, I hope the CPI(M) will also contest the Parliament election without any alliance in Kerala,” the BJP leader said.

“I am proud of the sanction of ₹11 lakh crore for Tamil Nadu by the present Modi government in ten years. Similarly, for the current year, a sum of ₹6,000 crore has been sanctioned for development in Railways in Tamil Nadu. Preliminary works have been started for the formation of railway lines and operation of train service from Erode to Palani via Dharapuram.”

Using the funds, 75 railway stations will be developed. This includes Erode station, which will be improved at the cost of ₹22 crore, he added.

Murugan said as per the request of the people of Erode and other places, the present Erode-Tirunelveli (unreserved) Express train service has been extended to Sengottai from Wednesday.

Referring to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, the minister said 70 percent of the work has been completed.

Pankaj Kumar Sinha, the divisional railway manager (DRM) of the Salem division, local MLA C Saraswathy, and Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM) Sivalingam were some of the people who participated in the event.

‘TMC is an important pillar’

The Congress on Wednesday said no one could imagine the existence of the Opposition INDIA bloc without West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

The Congress statement came immediately after Banerjee announced that her party Trinamool Congress has decided to go alone in the state in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Addressing a press conference at North Salmara in Assam as part of the party’s “Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra”, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said that the Trinamool Congress was an “important pillar” of the Opposition alliance.

“We cannot imagine the INDIA bloc without Mamata ji. The INDIA bloc will fight the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal and all (partners) will participate,” he said.

“Banerjee said that defeating BJP is the priority and prime responsibility of all of us. With this sentiment, our ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ will enter West Bengal tomorrow,” Ramesh said when asked about the TMC supremo’s statement regarding the seat-sharing talks.

The TMC supremo on Tuesday criticised the Congress for causing a delay in discussions for seat-sharing in West Bengal, citing “unjustified” demand for 10-12 Lok Sabha constituencies when her party was willing to share only two.

Ramesh said, “Mamata Banerjee’s full statement was that we want to defeat BJP and will take all possible steps for it. During a long journey, we get speed breakers and red lights. It does not mean that we will push back the journey. The journey crosses the speed breaker and the red light turns green.”

Citing Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, he asserted that the TMC and especially Banerjee, who is a leader of West Bengal and India, were “very important pillars of the INDIA alliance”.

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AAP exits alliance in Punjab

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday said his party will not enter into an alliance with the Congress in the state for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, reiterating that the AAP will win all 13 seats.

The Punjab chief minister made the statement at a time when the AAP and the Congress are locked in talks over seat sharing in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Goa and Gujarat for the general elections.

However, the AAP has entered into an alliance with the Congress for the Chandigarh mayoral poll.

Replying to a question on his party’s alliance with the Congress, Mann said he has said many times that “Punjab will become a hero in the country and the AAP will win 13-0 in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls”.

When questioned if it was clear that the AAP would not have an electoral alliance with the Congress, Mann said, “We are not going with them (Congress).”

(With PTI inputs)