On bypoll result eve, Congress says ‘fight is to save candidates’ deposit’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/on-bypoll-result-eve-congress-says-fight-is-to-save-candidates-deposit/

On bypoll result eve, Congress says ‘fight is to save candidates’ deposit’

Sixty Trinamool workers defect to Cong, say ‘had become impossible to work in ruling party, needed to move out’

At the Congress headquarters in Kolkata on Sunday. (Source: Express Photo by Partha Paul)
At the Congress headquarters in Kolkata on Sunday. (Source: Express Photo by Partha Paul)

A day before the results of the by-elections to Bongaon Lok Sabha and Krishnaganj Assembly seats, state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury admitted the party being “on a weak pitch”, saying the fight now is to “save the deposit amount”.

“We are not making any tall claims and saying that we will win any of the two seats. For us, it will be an achievement if we can prevent the forfeiture of the deposit money of our candidates,” Chowdhury said on Sunday at a press conference where about 60 Trinamool workers joined the state Congress.

They included Rabiul Islam, mayor in council of Asansol Municipal Corporation, and Javed Iqbal, general secretary of the district minority cell.

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Chowdhury said that in the last assembly elections, out of the 1,800 hundred booths in Bongaon, Congress could send polling agents to just 500.

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“It is an achievement in itself that we had our agents at 1200 booths this time and at about 80 per cent booths in Krishnaganj. Knowing it full well that the future of Trinamool Congress (in Bengal) does not seem to be very bright at the moment, people are switching to Congress. This shows people still believe Congress has the capability to bounce back. What is flickering today will illuminate tomorrow,” Chowdhury said.

He added that in order to make a turnaround, the party would have to take its four-point agenda to the leadership across the country.

“Our agenda would be secularism which is non-negotiable, how the organisational structure would be — through vote or consensus — medium of communication to connect with the people in general — print, electronic or social media — and what would be the political strategy of Congress,” he said.

Chowdhury also said that in the forthcoming municipal elections, the party will go alone. “We might win or lose but it is for sure that we will not get into any alliance with any political party. Those who are interested in contesting the election on a Congress ticket may apply with us and we will decide after consideration of applications,” Chowdhury said.

He also claimed that Trinamool Congress general secretary Mukul Roy is being cut to size so that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek could flourish politically.

On the alleged disagreement between him and some senior party leaders in the state over publicly terming the organisation “weak” and on reports that senior leaders might meet party high command to report against him, Chowdhury said, “I am working according to the instructions of the Central leadership. At the moment, my prime objective is to make the party visible in all the nooks and corners of the state.”

“As far as someone meeting Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi is concerned, it is nothing more than state Congress leaders meeting the Central leadership. What objection can I have against that?” he added.

After the induction, Islam said he and others found Congress as the only viable option. “It had become impossible to work in the Trinamool Congress. We needed to move out and there is no other alternative other than Congress and BJP needs to be stopped,” he said.