To ally or not: Congress, Left turn to top rung for final call ahead of Lok Sabha electionshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/to-ally-or-not-congress-left-turn-to-top-rung-for-final-call-ahead-of-lok-sabha-elections-5430387/

To ally or not: Congress, Left turn to top rung for final call ahead of Lok Sabha elections

State Congress Somen Mitra, however, said the issue will be decided by the party high command.

 On Thursday, Congress MP Mausam Benazir Noor spoke in favour of an alliance between Congress and Trinamool Congress to defeat BJP, instead of an alliance with CPM. (PTI)

Days after CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra spoke in favour of an understanding with the Congress for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, a final decision is yet to be taken, as leaders in both camps are divided on the issue.

On Thursday, Congress MP Mausam Benazir Noor spoke in favour of an alliance between Congress and Trinamool Congress to defeat BJP, instead of an alliance with CPM. “We are trying to forge an alliance with like-minded opposition parties across the country to defeat BJP. In Bengal too, I feel we should forge an alliance with TMC to stop BJP,” Noor told reporters.

State Congress Somen Mitra, however, said the issue will be decided by the party high command.

“In our party, everybody has the right to express their views and opinions. She (Noor) has also expressed her opinion. But the final decision will be taken by the All India Congress Committee,” he said.

Mishra had extended his party’s support to the Congress on October 29. Earlier in the 2016 Assembly elections, both party had formed an electoral understanding.

“In places where there is a contest between Congress and BJP, we will have to defeat the BJP. If we have to defeat BJP and Congress is the only alternative there, it goes without saying that we have to vote for Congress. Here, our fight is against both TMC and BJP and we have to unite the Opposition votes. For that, there is a need to extend our support to Congress,” he had said.

His comments have met with a mixed response within the Left Front.

State Forward Bloc secretary Naren Chatterjee said, “We will decide this issue within our party. The CPM cannot take a decision on its own in matters like this. If they do it, then it will contest in the election alone.”

CPI state secretary Swapan Banerjee said, “There is a need to discuss this issue in the Left Front meeting. Our opinions on this are also important.”

State BJP President Dilip Ghosh ridiculed both Congress and Left Front for advocating for an alliance. “Both the parties have become extinct in Bengal and therefore they are trying to survive in Bengal politics through an alliance. However, they will not be able to win a single seat in Bengal with or without an alliance,” Ghosh said.

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The Trinamool Congress, meanwhile, said Congress leaders were making contradictory statements. “We don’t know who is making the right statement. But we are sure that those who want to defeat BJP will come to TMC because we are the one fighting against it,” said TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee.