A day after being appointed West Bengal Congress president, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday said his party was ready to forge an electoral alliance with the CPM-led Left Front to fight both the TMC and the BJP in the 2021 Assembly polls.
The CPM responded in favour of an alliance with the Congress, emphasising that uniting anti-TMC and anti-BJP forces was the need of the hour.
“The Congress’ stand [on alliance] is clear. The CPM had earlier changed its stand. Later, it held joint political programmes with the Congress. This has strengthened the unity of Congress and Left parties and its political understanding. Now, we want to transform this political understanding between the parties into an electoral understanding and put up a spirited fight against the corrupt TMC government in the state. We are ready to fight against both TMC and the BJP. The secular ideals of the Congress will ultimately defeat the communal rhetoric of the BJP and the TMC,” Chowdhury said in his first news conference after taking charge as state Congress president.
The appointment came over a month after the demise of former state party chief Somen Mitra, who died on July 30.
This is Chowdhury’s second stint at the helm of the state Congress unit. He served in the post from 2014 to 2018. Under his leadership, the party entered into an electoral understanding with the Left Front ahead of 2016 state Assembly polls. However, before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the alliance fell apart as both parties failed to reach a seat-sharing agreement.
“Once again I have been made the Congress party chief in Bengal before Assembly polls. We never wanted to end the political and electoral understanding with the Left parties. However, after the last elections, the CPM might have felt that it did not get the desired results by getting into an alliance with the Congress. This could be a reason why the Left decided to go alone after 2016 Assembly polls,” said Chowdhury, also the Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha. He also appealed to former party leaders and workers who have defected to the TMC over the years.
Meanwhile, the CPM extended its support to the Congress and said all anti-TMC and anti-BJP forces must come together.
Former MP Mohammad Salim said, “We thank the All India Congress Committee for appointing Adhir Chowdhury as the state Congress president. He is an experienced leader and has the courage and ability to fight against both TMC and BJP. We have to unite all anti-TMC and anti-BJP forces. In 2016, we had entered into an electoral understanding with the Congress. In the last few years, it has been strengthened through our joint movement over a large number of issues.”
Meanwhile, the TMC criticised Chowdhury for his statements. “They have to do something to survive in Bengal politics. We are not bothered about any kind of alliance,” said party secretary general Partha Chatterjee.
State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said, “In 2016, the alliance had failed. This time too it will fail as people have aligned with the BJP.”
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