Tie-up yet to be sealed, Cong, CPI(M) holding joint protest


Kolkata, March 2: Even as the Congress and the CPI-M are yet to formally announce a tie-up for the Assembly poll in West Bengal, the state-level leadership of the two parties seemed to have entered into an alliance mode holding joint local level programmes and protest marches.

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury issued a statement recently, asking all democratic and secular forces to join hands in line with the CPI-M’s call for cooperation between democratic and secular forces in the state to defeat the Trinamool Congress and isolate the BJP.

However, according to TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, the Congress high command is yet to make up its mind.

Bandyopadhyay claimed that Congress president Sonia Gandhi told him that so far there was no news about a possible alliance between her party and the CPI(M)-led Left Front in West Bengal.

The TMC on its part has refused to give any importance to the proposed alliance, saying it would have no impact on the TMC’s prospects.

According to Left and Congress leaders, repeated statements and comments by the Trinamool Congress ridiculing the alliance are a sign of their nervousness.

“Why is the TMC so afraid of alliance between Congress and CPI(M)? If at all they are not worried about alliance then why are they making so many statements?” Adhir Chowdhary said.

“The issue of alliance is no longer limited to what CPI-M or Congress leadership is saying. The grassroot level workers of both the parties have forged a pact in their own capacity, and we don’t have the capacity to stop this trend.

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It is spreading from one area to another,” Chowdhury said.

The Congress leadership is hopeful that the party high command will soon announce a final decision sooner than later.

TMC supremo and chief Mamata Banerjee had dared the Congress and the CPI-M to make official their alliance and said that people would give them a befitting response in the upcoming Assembly elections.

“I heard that the CPI-M and the Congress are trying to forge an alliance. I want this alliance to be made official. The people will give you a befitting reply,” Banerjee had stated.

Not withstanding the CPI-M’s efforts to put the tie-up in place to defeat the TMC, a major Left Front partner the Revolutionary Socialist party (RSP) was not very upbeat about it.

“We are looking into it critically. We do accept that the people want to forge a democratic secular front against the TMC. We have to know what their policy is, have they (Congress) changed their stand, as they had been with TMC before? We have presented our critical assessment to the Left Front chairman,” RSP state secretary Khisti Goswami said.

Abdul Manan, a senior leader of state Congress was hopeful of the two parties (Congress and CPI-M) entering into a tie-up.

“Our state president has already issued a statement, which itself proves that we have a green signal from the high command. We are hopeful about a final announcement from the high command very soon,” he said.

Apart from the joint rallies, the CPI-M and the Congress last month had conducted various joint programmes across the state –  be it rallies or protest-marches.

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Election symbol of Hand (Congress symbol) embedded in Sickle and Hammer (CPI-M symbol) were also seen in various parts of the state calling for support to the alliance candidates across the state.

“It is the people who want to forge an alliance. It is no longer limited between parties. People and supporters outside the Left want to join this fight against undemocratic TMC and we all have to respect the aspirations of the masses,” CPI-M politburo member Mohammed Salim said.

Sources in the state Congress and the CPI-M said talks regarding seat adjustments between both the parties have already started.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, which had witnessed a four-cornered fight, the TMC had secured 39.7 per cent votes while the Left Front polled 29.9 per cent votes.

The Congress had polled 9.7 per cent while the BJP riding on the Modi wave had secured 16.9 per cent votes.


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