We remain hopeful of seat-sharing deal with TMC in Bengal: Jairam Ramesh

Both TMC and Congress share the common goal of defeating BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, says the party's general secretary

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Siliguri (photo: @Jairam_Ramesh/X)
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Siliguri (photo: @Jairam_Ramesh/X)
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PTI

The Congress on Thursday remained optimistic about clinching a mutually acceptable seat-sharing arrangement with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal, despite TMC supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee's reluctance to concede seats to the Congress in the state.

Addressing reporters in Murshidabad district, once a bastion of the Congress, party general-secretary Jairam Ramesh asserted that the paramount objective of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections is to unseat the BJP government at the Centre.

"In an alliance, there's a give-and-take dynamics. We are hopeful of reaching a consensus on a joint seat-sharing formula in the state that satisfies all parties involved. Mamata ji has expressed her commitment to the INDIA bloc and we welcome this stance," Ramesh said.

In Murshidabad, a minority-dominated district, the Congress currently holds one out of three seats.

Ramesh's confidence in taking the TMC along in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal follows Banerjee's declaration on Wednesday that she would not allocate any seats to the Congress, alleging that the party had aligned with the CPI(M) to bolster the BJP's prospects in the state.

"I have heard about her statement, but it reflects her opinion, not the consensus of the alliance. Both the TMC and the Congress share the common goal of defeating the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections," Ramesh remarked.

Regarding the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leadership's reluctance to engage in any coalition with the TMC in Bengal, Ramesh clarified, "Representatives from the CPI(M), Congress, TMC, and other parties were present in all meetings of the opposition bloc."

Banerjee reiterated during a public distribution event on Wednesday that the TMC had opted to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls independently in the state after the Congress declined her proposal to contest two seats.

While the CPI(M), Congress and TMC are part of the 27-party opposition bloc INDIA in West Bengal, the Congress has formed an alliance with the CPI(M) against both the TMC and BJP.

"Our objective in Bengal is clear: to oust the BJP. We must ensure that the BJP is defeated in the 18 seats it clinched in West Bengal during the last elections," Ramesh emphasised.

In the 2019 elections, the TMC secured 22 seats, the Congress won two, and the BJP bagged 18 seats in the state. Sources reveal that the TMC's offer of two seats, based on the Congress's 2019 Lok Sabha election performance, was deemed inadequate, intensifying tension between the two parties.

Notably, the TMC had previously formed alliances with the Congress in the 2001 assembly polls, the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, and the 2011 assembly polls, which resulted in the ousting of the CPI(M)-led Left Front government after 34 years.

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