Cong pampers Mamata,pulls out by-poll nominee

In a fair indication that the prospects of an anti-Left “grand alliance” in West Bengal in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls are not dead as yet...

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: February 11, 2009 2:17 am

In a fair indication that the prospects of an anti-Left “grand alliance” in West Bengal in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls are not dead as yet,the Congress on Tuesday withdrew its candidate for the Bishnupur West Assembly by-election in favour of the Trinamool Congress.

State Congress leaders said the decision was taken after getting a nod from the Central leadership.

Manas Bhuniya,leader of the Congress Legislative Party,said: “We want to defeat the CPM in Bengal. So,we have withdrawn our candidate for an easy victory for the Trinamool.”

“Mamata is creating an impression that she wants the alliance more than the Congress does. Therefore,we did our bit. The ball is now in her court,” said a senior state Congress leader.

“We have shown a gesture today,paving the way for a future secular democratic alliance with Trinamool. Now,we want reciprocation from Mamata,” said Bhuniya. “We too want to unify all anti-CPM forces in Bengal before the polls.”

The Trinamool welcomed the decision. Partho Chatterjee,leader of the Opposition in the Assembly,said: “Our party leader has welcomed it. Our only aim is to defeat the CPM in Bengal.”

Subrata Mukherjee,a pro-alliance Congress leader,said: “I am happy. It will go a long way towards an alliance. But,there are more issues to be resolved before a formal tie-up takes place.”

The talks over an alliance between the Congress and the Trinamool suffered a setback when Banerjee decided to field Sudip Banerjee and Somen Mitra,two breakaway leaders of the Congress,in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

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