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Eye on polls, Rahul calls state Congress leaders to Delhi on Feb 1

Senior Congress leaders of the state unit feel a decision on alliance would be taken after the meeting.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: January 23, 2016 12:11:25 am
bengal poll, rahul gandhi, CPM, CPM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, congress, bengal news Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi

STATE CONGRESS leaders Friday came into a huddle to speculate over the central leadership’s possible declaration of a tie-up with the CPM for the upcoming assembly elections, hours after their national vice-president Rahul Gandhi sent out notification to them to come to Delhi for a meeting on February 1.

Senior Congress leaders of the state unit feel a decision on alliance would be taken after the meeting.

This comes days after senior CPM leaders Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Surya Kant Mishra asked the Congress to spell out its stand over the Trinamool Congress while expressing their own willingness to join hands with the grand old party for the Bengal elections.

“I don’t know if the CPM has formally approached the Congress’s central leadership (for an alliance). But there is a sentiment among leaders here about forming an alliance to stop the violence unleashed by the ruling party,” Congress’s state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.

He also brushed aside newspaper reports that Gandhi was keen on an alliance with the TMC and that the leader had hinted so when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited Delhi recently. “That (meeting) was out of courtesy. How can you infer the exchange of normal pleasantries as talks of an alliance? These are media speculations,” he claimed.

Besides Chowdhury, other leaders from the state who are expected to meet Rahul in Delhi include Somen Mitra, Om Prakash Mishra, Pradeep Bhattacharya, Deepa Dasmunshi and Manas Bhuniya.

Giving details, Mishra said, “We have been invited to a meeting at his (Rahul’s) office at 10.30 am on February 1. We had earlier forwarded our views to him through C P Joshi (party’s state general secretary). If asked, I will present my view that a Congress-CPM alliance is definitely required and that there should be talks about a seat-sharing equation.” The leader believes an alliance has become “inevitable”.

Senior leader Abdul Mannan, who is already a part of a forum that comprises CPM leaders, said the priority at the moment was to uproot the TMC from Bengal. “It is the need of the hour to come together. An alliance should be formed in the interest of the people of Bengal. I believe the feelings of the common people would be honoured by the (Congress’s) central committee,” Mannan said.

There are leaders, on the other hand, who still believe that the party should contest the elections alone. Bhuniya and Dasmunshi are such leaders. “We believe in the capabilities of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and whatever decisions they will take, I and other Congress leaders will abide by those,” Bhuniya said.

Dasmunshi, party’s former MP, said the state unit, at present, stands divided with one of the sections also believing that the party should form an alliance with the Trinamool Congress. “Misrule here is definitely an issue. Democracy has been murdered and it is also true that Congress is not in a position to fight alone. State leaders are divided in their opinion as to whether the party should fight alone or join hands with the TMC or CPM. As far as my opinion is concerned, I will place that during the meeting,” Dasmunshi said.

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