Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday mocked CPI(M) and Congress for their efforts to forge an alliance ahead of the Assembly polls in West Bengal, a reaction which the opposition parties termed as "a reflection of her fear of losing".
"CPI(M) and Congress are committing a mistake by trying to forge an alliance. If BJP is helping them then it too is committing a mistake. You can change your shirt everyday but you can't change your ideology everyday. They are sacrificing their ideology in order to forge an alliance.
"If you sacrifice your ideology for the sake of power and money - what is left with you? Nothing ...I am neither Leftist nor Rightist. I am progressive. A person may die but his/her ideology lives on. They (Congress and CPI(M)) are committing a mistake," Banerjee said at TMC's extended general council meeting in Kolkata.
Reacting to her charges, the CPI-M and Congress leadership said it was the fear of losing the polls that Banerjee was talking about ideology.
"It is a joke that Mamata Banerjee is talking about ideology. TMC itself is a party which doesn't have any ideology. Actually Mamata Banerjee is afraid of alliance. She is very well aware that if there is an alliance she will lose the next elections," senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said.
"Why is she afraid of alliance between Congress and CPI(M)? The reason is she is very well aware of the power of alliance as she herself has become chief minister due to the alliance with Congress in 2011," senior state Congress leader Abdul Mannan said.
"TMC had betrayed Congress after coming to power. Her (Banerjee's) comments reflect her fear," he added.
Banerjee said she has been regularly reading reports of the proposed alliance for the past one month and described the two parties as "two flowers of the same tree".
"I want to tell them (Congress and CPI(M)) the alliance will not have an impact on the prospects of TMC in Bengal. You people won't be able to weaken me or my party.
"As long as I live I will live like a lion. I want them to forge an alliance so that they have their own political evaluation," she said.
Hitting out at the Left Party, Banerjee said "CPI(M) used to call Congress Bofors Gandhi. They used to criticise Indira Gandhi as fascist, hurl abuses at her. We have seen those days. Now it is the same CPI(M) which is calling for an alliance with Congress."
The TMC chief said she had walked out of the UPA II government at the Centre as Congress was pursuing anti-people policies.
"We(TMC) had six ministers in UPA II. We had opposed FDI in retail. We had opposed SEZ. When they (Congress) pursued anti-people polices we had decided to walk out. We were even afraid to go to Cabinet meetings as we felt they might place anti-people policies for discussion. When we opposed they used to say our protest won't matter in Cabinet as we were fighting a lonely battle."
With the Bengal assembly polls coming up in a few months, the state leadership of CPI(M) and Congress have been advocating an alliance to take on ruling TMC.
On Thursday, the CPI(M)-led opposition Left Front formally agreed to discuss the issue of alliance with Congress if it is approached.
The issue gained momentum in the last two months after several senior CPI(M) leaders sending feelers to Congress for a tie-up. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, a former chief minister, and CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra had called upon Congress to join hands with the Left Front.
A large section of state Congress leaders too advocated in favour of alliance during their meeting with the party Vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi.