Kolkata: The Congress made sure that it replied to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's walkout from the UPA in a strong manner. Two of the TMC chief's strongest political opponents have been elevated to the cabinet.
Two months after the TMC supremo walked out of the coalition, two of her most bitter detractors in the West Bengal Congress, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Deepa Dasmunsi have been inducted into the Cabinet. "We have been criticising the policies of the Mamata government. I am thankful to the Congress high-command for recognising our work," Dasmunsi said.
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The three ministers who have been inducted are from North Bengal, which is a significant move since the Panchayat polls are due in the region in 2013. Mamata is trying to neutralise the Congress during these polls.
But the TMC says it won't affect the party and called it 'bad politics'. "If they've made Trinamool the target, they're mistaken. TMC cannot be brought down this way. This is wrong and bad politics of Congress. They will not get anywhere with this," TMC leader Saugata Roy said.
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It is a four-pronged battle in Bengal ahead of the 2014 elections with the Left Front, the BJP, the Congress and the Trinamool throwing their hats in the political pit. In this high-stake battle, the Congress is doing all it can to emerge as a worthy contender who can deal with an upset.