Tell people plans after 2014 polls, Bhunia asks Mamata

Kolkata, July 21 (IANS) Scoffing at Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's recent comment that her party would not support Narendra Modi, a Congress leader in West Bengal Sunday asked her to make an unequivocal statement as to whether her party would back the BJP after the next general elections.

"You must hold a media conference or make it clear to the people of Bengal at a public rally as to whether or not your party will support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls," former state Congress president Manas Bhunia said at a rally here.

The BJP has appointed Gujarat Chief Minister Modi as its campaign committee chief for the 2014 elections, amidst speculation that he would be projected as the party's prime ministerial candidate.

Addressing a panchayat poll rally at Rampurhat of Birbhum district earlier this week, Banerjee said: "We have never supported Narendra Modi. We will never support him."

But Bhunia refused to give any credence to Banerjee's pronouncement. "Is it not true that you had sent bouquets to Modi after he won the Gujarat assembly polls in 2002?"

"She is used to switching sides. At times she has sided with the Congress and at times with the BJP," he noted.

Bhunia charged Banerjee with using the Congress to gain power in the 2011 assembly polls in the state and then walking out on the alliance.

Ridiculing Banerjee's calls for a federal front of regional parties, Bhunia said: "She nurses an ambition of becoming the prime minister. That's the reason she gave the call for a such a front. But the federal front can never be realized in a country which had 28 states and around 85 crore voters".

Bhunia said had the Congress contested 98 instead of 65 seats in the polls two years back, it would have won 70. "As state Congress chief I had demanded 98 seats. Had we done so, Mamata Banerjee would have had to stand at (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi's door seeking her support."

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