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Mamata parting ways with NDA

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: The National Democratic Alliance’s principal constituent in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress, has made apparent its intention to part ways with the combine.

“Now we are alone and are trying to stand on our feet,” party chief Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday.

“I was never a supporter of the NDA, but have always personally liked Atalji [Atal Bihari Vajpayee],” she said at a felicitation programme for madrasa students here.

“We were opposed to TADA [Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act], voted against POTA [Prevention of Terrorism Act] and demanded the resignation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of the riots in that State”, she said, claiming that her party never betrayed minority interests.

Her remarks are being construed as an attempt at wooing the minority community with an eye on elections. They come at a time when political circles here are agog with comments on the possibility of the Trinamool warming up to the Congress, which has welcomed a “political understanding” provided it snaps ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA.

The chances of such a relationship will brighten “provided she de-links her party from the BJP,” said Pradesh Congress Committee working president Pradip Bhattacharya.

But the State BJP said her “political fickleness” will only strengthen the hands of the CPI(M). “The BJP is the second largest party in the country and will be the foremost in the future. So what is our loss,” asked State general secretary Rahul Sinha referring to the BJP’s prospects in the State in the event of the Trinamool formally snaps ties.

Ever since the debacle in the 2004 Assembly poll, in which the Trinamool lost nearly half the seats it had held, Ms. Banerjee has shown signs of disassociating from the NDA.

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