Congress, Trinamool Conduct Back-Channel Alliance Talks, Hit Impasse

Sources indicated that the Congress is keen to have the Bengal Chief Minister on board.

New Delhi:

The Trinamool Congress might have adopted a public stance that it would go it alone in the 2024 election. But sources said back-channel talks are on with the Congress for a united opposition to take on the BJP in next year’s general election. Top sources in both the parties also indicated that they have hit a roadblock and efforts are on to find a way forward.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has been vehement in her castigation of the Congress after her party’s defeat to the Congress in the by-election in Bengal’s Sardighi and poor performance in the northeast in the latest round of assembly elections. She had even bracketed the Congress with the BJP, accusing the two parties of having an “unholy alliance”.

In its recently concluded plenary session in Raipur, the Congress had declared that it was ready to work with like-minded parties, without seeking the leadership role in the alliance – which has been a key demand of Mamata Banerjee.

Sources indicated that the Congress is keen to have the Bengal Chief Minister on board in an all-opposition alliance ahead of the 2024 elections.

But the hiccup came over Trinamool’s other demand — reining in, censure or outright removal of Adhir Choudhary, the state Congress chief and the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha.

Mr Choudhary, one of the state’s tallest Congress leaders, has spearheaded the party’s attack against the Ms Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress. Among other things, he has accused her of being the “B team” of the BJP.

The Trinamool Congress alleges that Mr Choudhury has a secret understanding with the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari and has been working with him.

Top sources in both the parties who are in touch with each other have conveyed their position on this matter to the leadership.

The Congress has politely but firmly refused to compromise Adhir Ranjan Choudhury’s position at present. The Trinamool has dug in its heels, making it clear that no joint opposition is possible until he is made accountable for his remarks against the party.

Interlocutors on both sides are now trying their level best to find a way forward, but as of now, they concede there is no meeting ground.


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