Bengal Congress divided over truck with Trinamool Congress

Kolkata, Dec 10: A day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her solidarity with Sonia Gandhi over her court appearance, the state Congress on Wednesday, Dec 9 appeared to be a house divided over a possible alliance with Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress.

Banerjee's comment on Tuesday that she "felt bad" that Gandhi has been asked to appear in court, led to speculation of the Trinamool supremo trying to woo back the former ally.

Mamata Banerjee

On a visit to the national capital, Banerjee had made the comments reacting to a court in Delhi directing the Congress president and vice president Rahul Gandhi to appear in person on December 19 in the National Herald case in which they have been accused of swindling money.

While state party chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asserted his responsibility of strengthening the Congress in Bengal, party lawmaker Manas Bhuniya appeared game for a truck with the Trinamool.

A section of party leaders have also batted for aligning with the Communist Party of India-Marxist led (CPI-M) led Left Front for the 2016 assembly polls.

"Trinamool is a nationalist party and so is the Congress. Our motto is nationalism. As regards the CPI-M and the Left parties, international issues are a priority for them rather than national issues," said Bhuniya.

Refusing to comment on Chowdhury's assertions of "ekla cholo re" (go alone), Bhuniya said the political situation in the state was uncertain.

"The political scenario in the state is fluid. The situation is complicated," said Bhuniya, adding that it was the party high command's prerogative to decide on alliance.

But Chowdhury described the alliance talks as "figment of the media's imagination".

"The Congress high command has asked me as the state head to strengthen the party. It has not asked me to align with the Trinamool. I am working to strengthen the party, for which I have to fight the Trinamool."

On the other hand, Congress Lok Sabha member Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury batted for an alliance with the Left, speculation of which has been doing the rounds for quite some time.

"During the meet with C.P. Joshi (Congress in-charge for the state), the general view was either we go it alone, or align with the CPI-M," said Choudhury.

Asked how he would react if the high command preferred the Trinamool, Choudhury replied: "In that case, we will have to accept it. But the majority view in the state party is that we should align with the CPI-M."


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