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TMC set to go solo in Tura Lok Sabha seat

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Party to contest all seats in WB, fight alone in Assam

From CK Nayak

NEW DELHI, March 10: Putting all speculations to rest, the All India Trinamool Congress on Sunday decided to contest from the Tura seat after the Congress party preempted any move for seat sharing in Meghalaya by unilaterally announcing its candidates on Friday.
Notwithstanding their fierce personal rivalry despite being members of the opposition INDIA bloc, Congress and TMC’s ambition to revitalise their party organisation was the real reason behind the failure of seat-sharing talks in Meghalaya, Assam, and West Bengal. This is true even though the loosely affiliated bloc did well in the four other significant states that send the most representatives to the lower house: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.
The TMC announced that it would fight solo in the Lok Sabha polls in home turf West Bengal and Assam and the Tura seat in Meghalaya where it has a sizeable base.
The party will now contest some seats in Assam and the Tura seat, besides all seats in West Bengal, party supremo Mamata Banerjee announced at a mega rally on Sunday.
Congress had already pre-empted any seat sharing agreement in Meghalaya by announcing its candidates for both Lok Sabha seats. But it was trying to stitch an alliance in Assam and West Bengal solely depending on the personal intervention of Rahul Gandhi.
Despite the currently shaky position of the TMC in the INDIA alliance, the Assam Trinamool Congress is also part of a Congress-led 16-party United Opposition Forum in Assam, which is currently putting up a join opposition in the state to the imminent notification of rules for the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
In Meghalaya, the TMC has the same number of five MLAs like that of the Congress which has been recognised as the main opposition party.
During the meeting on selection of tickets in the first batch, the state Congress leaders argued that the party has been almost wiped out of Garo Hills, which sends as many as 24 seats, barring the lone MLA Saleng A Sangma who has been fielded in the Tura Lok Sabha seat. Congress aims to revive the party in Garo Hills where it once reigned supreme.
But behind the preempted move by Congress is the bitter personal rivalry between MPCC president and sitting Lok Sabha member, Vincent H Pala and former Congress chief minister and now TMC Parliamentary Party leader, Mukul M Sangma.
Pala and Mukul were camping in the national capital till the candidates’ lists were released by both parties.
Mukul blames Congress
Senior TMC leader Mukul Sangma on Sunday blamed the Congress for hurrying to announce their candidates for the two seats in Meghalaya without waiting for the talks to reach a natural conclusion.
Sangma said the problem with the Congress is that they are delinked from the ground reality.
“We have waited long enough. The whole country has been observing us and waiting patiently for the INDIA bloc to show collective intent and have a single candidate to ensure that we aggregate our strength,” the senior TMC leader said.
The AICC on Friday announced the name of Pala and sitting party MLA from Gambegre, Saleng A Sangma for the Shillong and Tura Parliamentary seats, respectively.

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