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Amid Seat-Sharing Dispute, Mamata Asserts TMC To Stay With INDIA Bloc

Banerjee conveyed her stance during a closed-door organisational meeting of the TMC’s West Midnapore district unit.

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Mamata Banerjee at TMC meeting
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TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asserted that it will remain part of the INDIA bloc in the fight against the BJP, days after fissures appeared in the alliance over seat-sharing disagreement between her party and the Congress in West Bengal.

Banerjee conveyed her stance during a closed-door organisational meeting of the TMC’s West Midnapore district unit. "Our party supremo clearly stated that the TMC would remain in the INDIA bloc in the fight against the BJP. Although critical of the CPI(M), she did not utter a single word against the Congress," said a senior TMC official present in the meeting, who did not wish to be named. 

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The CPI(M), Congress and the TMC collectively constitute the 28-party strong INDIA bloc. However, in West Bengal, the CPI(M) and Congress have allied against the TMC and BJP. Banerjee’s statement follows TMC’s Lok Sabha Party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay's recent remark that the party has an "open heart" for the Congress regarding seat-sharing in West Bengal for the Lok Sabha election, but is also prepared to go solo if negotiations fail.

Wednesday’s development coincided with state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a vocal TMC critic, asserting it wouldn't "beg" for seats from Bengal’s ruling party. Multiple sources confirmed that the TMC was contemplating allocating four out of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress.

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In the 2019 elections, TMC secured 22 seats, Congress won two, and BJP bagged 18 seats in the state.  Chowdhury, also the Congress leader in Lok Sabha, won the Baharampur seat, while Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, a former Union minister, secured a third consecutive win from the Malda Dakshin seat.

Banerjee, expressing confidence in an alliance between TMC, Congress, and the Left in West Bengal last November, had her proposal swiftly dismissed by arch-rival CPI(M) and criticised by some Congress leaders. Days later, she accused the two parties of aligning with the BJP, affirming that the TMC would confront the saffron camp in West Bengal.

The TMC had previously allied with the Congress in the 2001 assembly polls, 2009 Lok Sabha elections, and the 2011 assembly polls, leading to the ousting of the CPI(M)-led Left Front government after 34 years.

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