THE process to forge an alliance between the Congress and the CPM in Bengal for the upcoming assembly elections is on “fast track”, senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan said Monday. “The alliance process is on fast track and you will come to know about it very soon. The statement by state Congress president (Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury) a day ago itself is a favourable sign towards alliance,” Mannan told mediapersons in Kolkata.
Raising the pitch for an alliance in the run up to the state polls, Chowdhury, in a statement issued Sunday, had asked all democratic and secular forces to join hands. “I am inviting all democratic and secular forces in Bengal to come together to preserve democratic values and to establish rule of law in the state,” he had said.
Mannan said the ruling Trinamool Congress’ response to the proposed alliance was a sign of “nervousness”. “The Trinamool is nervous about the prospect of the alliance. And their nervousness is clear whenever they make statements on the alliance or ridicule it. They know the power of alliance very well as they too have come to power by riding on alliance,” he claimed.
While commenting about Trinamool MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s claims that Congress president Sonia Gandhi so far has no news about a possible alliance between her party and the CPM, Mannan said: “I don’t want to comment on such a baseless statement. I just want to say that Sonia Gandhi is a great leader and she doesn’t speak to any Tom, Dick and Harry.”
Late Sunday, Bandyopadhyay, while returning from Delhi, told mediapersons: “I met Soniaji and asked her about the probable alliance… She instead asked me whether any such alliance was happening. She said that no such news has reached her so far. It is apparent that such an alliance is not taking place. There is some campaign regarding seat adjustment at the state-level between the two parties, but as per my knowledge, there is no alliance.”
Congress sources, however, claimed the party high command was yet to officially take a decision on the matter. Claiming that the Trinamool was misconstruing the matter, a senior party leader said: “State Congress delegations had met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on the matter and it has also been taken up with the party’s high command. Trinamool is misconstruing the situation because its leaders are afraid. Is it possible that the party’s president does not know a state unit’s election strategy?”
On Monday, CPI state secretary Prabodh Panda, said there was a need to act and not just rely on “speculations” and “statements”. “So far, there have only been speculations, suggestions and press statements. But unless there is a formal proposal from the Congress, how can there be an alliance? If there has to be an alliance, people from both the camps need to act. But so far, there have only been suggestions or leaders giving a public call… nothing has been done formally,” he added.
With inputs from PTI