Threatened by the onslaught of the BJP and the persistent poaching by the Trinamool Congress, a section of the Congress in West Bengal is now frantically rooting for an alliance with the CPM, its alliance partner in the first UPA government at Centre in 2004.
Abdul Mannan, former MLA and a spokesman for the party, leads the group.
“Politics makes for strange bedfellows and history is replete with vindication of this adage. If the Late Jyoti Basu could join hands with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, if Lalu Prasad can join hands with Nitish Kumar, what’s wrong with Congress and CPM joining hands to resist BJP and the Trinamool Congress,” Mannan asked.
Mannan, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election from Sreerampur seat after being prodded by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, also said that BJP and the TMC have already reached a tacit understanding. “After the meeting of Piyush Goyal (union minister for power and coal) with (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee, the Centre cleared the proposal to set up AIIMS at Kalyani depriving Raigunj. Union Minister Smriti Irani is coming to meet the CM. It seems TMC and BJP have become friends,” Mannan said talking to The Indian Express.
However, PCC chief Adhir Ranjan Chaudhury refuted the idea. “Congress will not go along with anybody. There will not be even any floor management with the CPM,” Chaudhury said after a meeting with party MLAs in the state Assembly.
At the meeting, the PCC president told the MLAs to fight unitedly and gear up for the 2016 Assembly polls. “We will have to be united, more vocal in the state Assembly, and fight the TMC government, which has become autocratic. In fact, under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee we are descending into a state of anarchy,” Chaudhury said.
Earlier, on Monday, the top leaders from state unit including Chaudhury and former PCC presidents Manas Bhuina, Somen Mitra and Pradip Bhattacharya met a Congress committee headed by former defence minister A K Antony. The committee had been set up to probe into the party’s poll debacle.
Post Lok Sabha results, the party has been plagued with bitter infighting with several members questioning the style of functioning of Chaudhury, who was appointed PCC chief just a month ahead of the elections.
Chaudhury convened two meeting after the elections to assess the party’s performance, but both the meetings ended up in fisticuffs and scuffles. “We told Antonysaab that the new president would have to run the organisation consulting all the senior leaders,” One of the leaders who went to Delhi told The Indian Express.
On Wednesday, the party will organise a rally from the party office at Moulali to Gandhi Statue at Maidan in protest against the railway fare hike. The rally, which will be attended by party MLAs and other leaders, will be led by Chaudhury.