Congress sees red in saffron rise in Bengal

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Kolkata, Jan 2 (UNI) The Congress today said the increasing vote percentage of the BJP in West Bengal was a ''dangerous trend'' and urged the Trinamool Congress to launch a secular, progressive and democratic front to counter both Left Front and saffron influence.

The reaction came after the BJP candidate in Balagarh assembly in Hoogly district came third, much ahead of the Congress as results were declared today.

The seat retained by the CPI(M) as its candidate Bhuban Kumar Pramanik was elected by a margin of 8,410 votes over his nearest rival Asim Majhi of the All India Trinamool Congress.

The BJP, AITC and CPI(ML) gained 4401, 29 and 1678 votes while the CPI(M) and Congress lost its 9526 and 1760 votes respectively from the previous assembly election.

''Emergence of BJP in West Bengal is a dangerous trend and the Balagarh by-election is a lesson for us,'' Congress Legislative Party leader Manas Bhuiya told a news conference today.

''We have been telling Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee to sever ties with the BJP-led NDA and form a real progressive, democratic and secular front to fight the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Front government'', said Mr Bhuiya.

Referring to a query, Mr Bhuiya said, the reduction of CPI(M)'s vote meant the people in general have been drifting away from the party in power.

He said, the people would gain more confidence if the AITC and Congress could jointly form an alternative front in the state.

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