"When we are in an agreement, it is a give-and-take situation": Jairam Ramesh on seat-sharing in West Bengal with TMC

BIHAR: After Trinamool Congress accused the Congress of delay in seat-sharing talks, party leader Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said that when we are in an agreement, it is a give-and-take situation, so all parties need to realise this.

"What Mamata Banerjee has said is true, we are in the INDIA bloc and we will take on BJP as the INDIA bloc only. Both TMC and Congress have the goal of defeating the BJP. From Mamata Banerjee's side, she has said that they will contest from 40 seats but when we are in an agreement, it is a give-and-take situation, so all parties need to realise this. We hope that soon we can declare about seat sharing officially," he said.

Notably, speaking at a public event in West Bengal on Monday, Abhishek Banerjee who happens to be the nephew of TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said while the basic norm of an alliance is for the partners to finalise a seat-sharing deal at the earliest, the Congress had been dragging their feet in the matter for months.

"When you are in an alliance with someone, the first thing you do is finalise the seat-sharing deal. We had been asking them about the seat-sharing arrangement since June. Seven months passed and they did nothing. At our (INDIA's) last meeting in Delhi, Mamata Banerjee even set a deadline of December 31 (for the Congress to finalise its seat-sharing arrangement with the TMC in Bengal). We're in the last week of January now and they still haven't done anything," Abhishek said.

Earlier, the TMC supremo ruled out an alliance with the Congress in Bengal saying her party was quite capable of contesting all Lok Sabha seats in the state on its own steam and defeating the BJP.

Significantly, the ruling Janata Dal-United (JDU), earlier, accused Congress of wanting to steal and appropriate the mantle of leadership of the Opposition alliance.

JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said the Congress wanted to steal the leadership of the INDIA bloc, adding, "In the meeting that took place on December 19, a conspiracy was hatched to appropriate the leadership of the INDIA bloc, as Mallikarjun Kharge's name was proposed (as PM)," he said.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, too, weighed in amid rising differences between INDIA partners over seat-sharing, saying there could not be a "one-size-fits-all formula" for a country like India which has different political realities. He added that negotiations over a seat arrangement would be taking place on a "state-by-state basis."

The Bloc, which brought together 28 Opposition forces from across the country, was founded on the common objective of defeating the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.


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