Don’t ally with Left in Bengal polls: Cong leaders in Kerala, Tripura

Agartala, Feb 5 (IANS) Congress leaders in Kerala and Tripura are likely to ask the party’s central leadership not to ally with the Left parties in the forthcoming West Bengal assembly polls.

“Top state Congress leaders in Kerala and Tripura are now holding talks to jointly request the party’s central leadership against possible electoral alliance with the Left parties in the imminent West Bengal assembly polls,” Tripura Congress spokesman Tapas Dey told IANS here on Friday.

He said Congress leaders of both Kerala and Tripura were more or less agreed that if the party allied with the Left parties led by CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist), it would be the loser in the electoral battle.

Dey said Tripura Congress president Birajit Sinha on Thursday met All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of West Bengal C.P. Joshi in New Delhi and explained to him how an electoral alliance between the Congress and the Left would harm the party.

Sinha, a former Tripura minister, and Joshi are likely to meet Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi in a day or two to discuss the issue and would write a letter to him in this regard.

The Tripura Congress leadership earlier last month opposed the move to strike an electoral deal with the Left parties, dominated by the CPI-M.

“The Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) led by the party’s state chief Birajit Sinha in its recent meeting discussed the issue and decided to strongly oppose the move,” Dey stated.

He said If the Congress allied with the CPI-M, then the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) would get the electoral benefit both in West Bengal and Tripura.

“We have communicated our decision to party high command Sonia Gandhi.”

Meanwhile, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said here on Wednesday that the central leadership of his party would decide about the party’s electoral alliance with the Congress in the forthcoming West Bengal assembly polls during its three-day politburo and central committee meetings in New Delhi from February 16.

“The CPI-M politburo would meet in New Delhi on February 16 before the two-day central committee meeting on February 17-18. These meetings would decide the party’s electoral pact with Congress in the ensuing West Bengal assembly elections,” Yechury told reporters before leaving for New Delhi.

He said the politburo and central committee meetings would finalise the electoral strategies of the CPI-M in the upcoming Bengal elections.

The West Bengal CPI-M state committee meeting would be held in Kolkata over February 12 and 13 to finalise the party’s stand on alliance with Congress, a senior CPI-M leader said in Kolkata, adding that the state committee’s decision would be conveyed to the CPI-M central committee.

The term of the 294-member West Bengal assembly ends on May 29 and elections are likely to be held before that.

A Congress delegation from West Bengal led by state party chief and Lok Sabha member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury met Rahul Gandhi on February 1 in New Delhi and discussed the possibility of forging an alliance with the Left Front in the state.

The majority of the Congress leaders in West Bengal, including Chowdhury, favour an electoral alliance with the CPI-M.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi will take a final call on an electoral alliance with the Left parties in West Bengal.

However, three senior West Bengal Congress leaders – Manas Bhuniya, Deepa Dasmunshi and Abhijit Mukherjee – advocated that the party go it alone at the hustings.

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