Mamata Didi is furious. And this time her anger is more focused against her alliance partner, the Congress, than the Left Front government in the state.
Sources in the Trinamool Congress [ Images ] said Mamata Bannerji spat fire in the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, accusing the Centre of keeping mum in West Bengal [ Images ] and demanding that immediate action be taken against the Left Front government in the state.
Stepping out of the cabinet meeting, Mamata accused the Congress saying its decision to take the support of the Communist Party of India-Marxist to have their mayor appointed in Siliguri was not acceptable to her.
Mamata's allegations are serious. Her party has alleged, "The barbarity of the CPI-M [ Images ] has reached a dangerous stage where the democratic functioning of political parties is at stake. The state is directly killing the people."
Mamata told the waiting media, "If the Centre does not intervene now and bring semblance of law and order, I do not know what is going to happen. I wonder what the Centre would do if there was a similar situation in any other state. I would like to know why the Centre is keeping mum in the case of West Bengal."
She also gave Union Home Minister P Chidambaram [ Images ] a three-page typed letter detailing her anguish and asking that the Centre should act.
The only handwritten part of the letter was "Disohera greetings to u". It is expected that the home minister would have understood that she was sending him Dusshera greetings.
Senior Congress leaders state that a large part of Mamata's anger stems from the fact that the Congress decided to take the support of the CPI-M to elect its own mayor after the municipality election in Siliguri, known to be the second biggest after Kolkata [ Images ].
The understanding was that the party with the larger number of seats would get the mayor's post.
In the results, the Congress bagged 15 sets, the TC got 14 and the Left won 17. But Mamata refused to concede ground and by bringing in an independent candidate made the numbers equal the Congress' 15 and then demanded the mayor's post.
Local Congressmen, unhappy at Mamata's '"unreasonableness', alleged that she was not acting according to the agreed terms and approached the central leaders late on Wednesday night.
A senior leader in Delhi [ Images ] said, "Till 9 pm, the CPI-M was nowhere in the picture. But after the local unit protested, on Thursday morning the Congress was given a free hand to take an appropriate decision keeping in mind the interest of the party."
So while the Congress dumped Mamata and took the support of the Left and went on to appoint its mayor, they also left behind a very angry Didi, who is now breathing fire.
The West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee President Pranab Mukherjee [ Images ] has said that this will not affect their alliance with the TC at the national level.
The All India [ Images ] Congress Committee in-charge of West Bengal Kesava Rao said, "We will strive to ensure that this does not affect our coalition".
Sources in the Congress said while they did not want the alliance to be affected, Mamata could not be allowed to walk over the Congress in the state.
Over the next two years, a number of municipal and other local body elections are lined up in West Bengal and sources say the Siliguri decision was also taken to impress upon Mamata that she is expected to play fair.
Also, the Congress leadership has noted that in the run-up to the assembly elections two years later, Mamata may not have other options apart from staying with the Congress if she wished to dethrone the Left regime in the state.
Image: Union Railway Minister Mamta Bannerji