Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee
Swapan Mahapatra/ PTI Photo

Kolkata: West Bengal BJP on Monday termed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the city and her decision to "back out" of the opposition meeting in New Delhi as "desperate attempts" to divide anti-TMC votes in the state.

According to senior state BJP leaders, Banerjee giving the opposition meeting convened by interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi a miss was a "well-calculated move to give oxygen to the Congress and CPI(M) in Bengal, which are on their political death beds".

"She (Banerjee) deliberately wants to send out a message that something is cooking between the BJP and the TMC. In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, we emerged as the main opposition in West Bengal.

"Now, this is being done in a desperate attempt to split anti-TMC votes between us, the CPI(M) and Congress," a state BJP leader said.

He said this "trick" has, however, been exposed and will not yield any result as "people of the state have already decided to oust the TMC government in 2021 and bring the BJP to power in the state".

The BJP had secured 18 of the 42 seats in West Bengal in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, just four less than the ruling TMC.

The BJP had bagged 41 per cent of the polled votes while the TMC clinched 43 per cent, relegating the Congress and the Left to the third and fourth positions respectively.

"As the Congress and the Left had failed to hold on to their respective electors base, many of whom voted for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee is trying to project these two parties as the main opposition instead of the saffron party," another senior BJP leader said.

The state BJP's views come after the chief minister met the prime minister and they shared the dais at a state government event.

Protesting incidents of violence allegedly perpetrated by the Congress and the Left workers in the state during a trade union strike on January 8, Banerjee had boycotted an opposition meeting called by Sonia Gandhi on January 13 over CAA, NRC, violence on JNU campus and "anti-people" policies of the Centre.

Trinamool Congress leaders, however, dismissed the BJP's allegations, asserting that the saffron party should "stop reading too much between the lines".

"It is the TMC that has been at the forefront of anti-CAA protest in the country. We were the first to oppose the amended Citizenship Act.

"So they (BJP) should think twice before making any baseless comment. It is the BJP that has a tacit understanding with Congress and CPI(M) in the state," senior TMC leader Tapas Roy said.

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said the "political match-fixing" between the TMC and the BJP is now out in the open. "The double standards of the TMC and BJP are now exposed. The political match-fixing between the two parties has come out in open.

The TMC and the BJP can never fight each other as they are two sides of a coin. Only the Left and the Congress can contest them," he said. PTI PNT ACD

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