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TMC, BJP want to wipe out Cong: Mitra

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra on Thursday said the BJP and the TMC were "evil forces", which had the common goal of wiping out his party, even as Congress president Rahul Gandhi and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee have agreed to work together to prepare a common minimum programme for a national pre-poll alliance in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

"On one hand, Mamata Banerjee calls for a united fight against the BJP and on the other, she takes steps to help the BJP in Bengal. This is nothing but double standards. The TMC and the BJP are two sides of the same coin," Mitra told a press conference here.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) talked of a "Congress-mukt Bharat" (Congress-free India) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC), since it came to power in Bengal in 2011, had poached on Congress MLAs and MPs with the sole aim of weakening the party, he said.

"The BJP wants to wipe out the Congress from the country, whereas the TMC wants to wipe out the Congress in the state. Both are evil forces, which want to destroy the secular forces in the country," Mitra, who himself had quit the Banerjee-led party after a stint that lasted a few years, said.

He answered in the negative, when asked whether a wrong signal was sent to the Congress workers in Bengal, where the party is in the doldrums, with Gandhi holding a joint press conference with the TMC chief in New Delhi on Wednesday.

"It will not send out a wrong signal as the two issues should not be mixed up. Rahul Gandhi has extended support to the TMC on the issue of politicising the CBI. But he has never asked us to stop our fight against the TMC in Bengal," Mitra said.

"In this state (West Bengal), the Congress will fight against both the BJP and the TMC," he asserted.

Moving forward on a united anti-BJP front, top opposition leaders, including Gandhi and Banerjee, on Wednesday agreed to work together to prepare a common minimum programme to oust the Narendra Modi government in the upcoming general election and consider forging a national pre-poll alliance.

The meeting of the opposition leaders, hosted by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar at his residence in New Delhi, also saw Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal coming together for the first time.

Banerjee, who is the West Bengal chief minister, and her Andhra Pradesh counterpart N Chandrababu Naidu said the entire opposition needed to come together due to "democratic compulsions to save India".

Mitra also came out in support of his predecessor, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who virulently criticised the TMC and its MPs in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday over the Saradha chit fund scam.

"Whatever Adhir has said, we completely support him. He has spoken the truth. Everybody in Bengal knows that TMC leaders are involved in the scam," he said.

Banerjee, who was upset with Chowdhury's attack on her party MPs, had registered her displeasure with United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 14 2019. 20:25 IST