BJP's rise makes Congress jittery, party calls for unification of secular forces

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Sonia Gandhi
Kolkata, Oct 28: With politics in West Bengal gradually becoming polarised between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP, a section of Congress leaders in the state have called for unification of secular forces to stop "communal politics". Veteran Congress leader Abdul Mannan said that there was a strong need for checkmating "communal politics" of the Trinamool Congress manifesting itself in minority appeasement.

"So is the majority polarisation by the BJP...The Congress has been fighting for secularism since its inception, so it is an imperative that secular forces in the state, including the Left, join hands with the Congress," Mannan told PTI. Mannan also said that during his meeting with the Congress high command sometime back, he had floated the idea of Congress forming a secular front in Bengal in order to stop the "Communal BJP and Trinamool".

"I have told my leader that although I didn't name the Left, I had hinted at it. And the Left and Congress coming together for the sake of secularism is nothing new," the veteran leader said. WBPCC president Adhir Chowdhury, however, put his priority on strengthening the party organisation in the state.

"Our main aim right now is to strengthen the party in Bengal because if Congress is strenghtened then automatically secular forces will be powerful enough to fight communalism", he said. "We will fight both TMC and BJP in the state with whatever strength we have. For us both the parties are the same," Chowdhury said.

Senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed Khan, who is also co-in charge of West Bengal said that now it was too early to talk about any kind of alliance with any party. Reminded that Congress leaders have joined the Left and other intellectuals on a common platform on the issue of Saradha chit fund scam, he said, "Congress can join other secular forces if there is a common platform to fight communal forces". He alleged that the misrule of the TMC was one of the main reasons behind the rise of the BJP in the state.

 PTI

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