West Bengal: Congress divided over alliance with ruling TMC
Fissures seem to have appeared in Congress's West Bengal unit over the issue of forging an alliance with the ruling Trinamool Congress for the crucial 2019 polls, with a section of leaders keen on the tie-up and the state leadership rejecting the idea. Congress in the state has lost its political ground to TMC and BJP to an extent.
Some Congress leaders feel party should go for TMC alliance
Marred by the exodus of its elected representatives to the TMC, the Congress party now seems to be in a fix over the issue of aligning with TMC to1 stop BJP's march in the state. A section of MPs and MLAs feel that aligning with the TMC would be the best way to win the maximum number of seats in 2019.
WB Congress fighting hard under leadership of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
State Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and other leaders, feel aligning with TMC in West Bengal will amount to "committing suicide" for Congress. Congress's Malda South MP Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury and MLA Maniul Haque recently met TMC Secretary-General Partha Chatterjee on the day Amit Shah held the Purulia rally. They held talks on the possibilities of forming a grand alliance in WB.
Congress alone can't fight against BJP: Maniul Haque
Khan Chowdhury's move raised several eyebrows in WB Congress, which isn't eager to form an alliance with TMC. WB Congress was quick to come out with a rebuttal, stating it hasn't authorized anyone to talk to TMC on the issue of alliance. Haque, meanwhile, said he plans to join TMC as it can fight against BJP in WB and at the national level, too.
Congress weakened in WB because of TMC: PCC Chief
"TMC is the biggest promoter of the BJP. It is because of the TMC that the Congress has weakened...over the years. Aligning with TMC and committing suicide is same for us," PCC chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said. A senior Congress leader from the central leadership, privy to the developments, said the party is in the process of gathering "divergent views" from its Bengal leaders.
Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharya on alliance with Trinamool
Senior WB Congress MP, Pradip Bhattacharya, said the party high command will take the final call on TMC alliance. "One opinion is...we should continue our alliance with the CPI (M)-led Left Front...to strengthen our party organization, while the other is..we should ally with the TMC to win the maximum number of seats. It is for the high command to take the call," Bhattacharya said.
Congress, Left Front forged alliance in 2016
Congress and the CPI (M)-led Left Front had forged an alliance in West Bengal during the 2016 assembly polls to fight against the TMC in West Bengal. Although the coalition failed to oust the Mamata Banerjee-led party, the Congress managed to win 44 seats.
11 Congress MLAs joined TMC in the last 2 years
In the past two years, Congress lost nearly 11 MLAs to TMC. Barring Manas Bhunia, who resigned as Congress MLA when he was elected as Rajya Sabha MP from TMC, the defectors didn't resign as legislators after joining TMC. Four other Congress MLAs, who are currently holding talks with the TMC, are likely to follow suit on July 21, during TMC's mega rally.