"Our main objective is to hold on to our existing seats and then to increase the number of seats. The third aim is to increase our vote percentage in the state," West Bengal PCC president and Minister of State for Railways, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said. He was speaking at a Meet the Press programme organised by the Kolkata Press Club.
Chowdhury, however, noted that in 2011 a coalition government had been formed in the state and the Congress joined the government as a junior or insignificant partner. However, the coalition broke apart after the Trinamool Congress walked out of the UPA II government in September, 2012, he said.
Admitting that the Congress had a "delayed take-off" as an opposition to the challenge of Trinamool Congress in the state, Chowdhury said, "We were losing relevance in Bengal politics, but now we have regained that."
"We have been able to overcome an atmosphere of demoralisation that had been created about the Congress," he claimed. "This election, we are focusing on north Bengal and in some parts of south Bengal and a seat in Kolkata," he said, adding, that he would not like to make any 'high-blown claim' and that he was making 'realistic assessment'.
"Barring some ifs and buts, we are going to retain all the six seats," said Chowdhury, a fierce opponent of Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee even when the parties were in alliance.
Asked about Mamata Banerjee's outburst against the Election Commission at public rallies and attack on EC officials by her party workers, he said, "Mamata is unsure about her strength this time and is worried.
She is seeing a conspiracy in everything." "It is unacceptable that EC officials are being beaten up. It seems she has some designs which are being hampered by the Commission and that is why she has launched a vitriolic attack on it," he said.