Kolkata, Jun 19: Senior CPI-M leader and former minister Gautam Deb today kicked up political storm by stating that Left Front in West Bengal was now left with not enough strength to defeat Trinamool Congress in the Assembly polls next year.
Deb also hinted at an "understanding" with the Congress, saying that "there was a need for a greater alliance with other like-minded political parties to defeat the TMC regime".
Asked if the CPI-M would prefer to go for a seat-sharing alliance with the Congress in order to defeat the TMC, Deb said, "We have not talked about it.
But yes, we have supported the Congress-led UPA government for four and a half years. We have also jointly taken up various campaigns against the TMC."
Deb's statement touched off a political storm, with Left Front leaders trying to distance themselves from the statement.
"This may be his personal views. If the CPI-M state secretary had said it, then it could have been considered as the statement of the party.
Let the CPI-M come out with a statement and clear its stand. Then we will comment," RSP state secretary Khisti Goswami said.
Forward Bloc leader Udayan Guha said that the CPI-M should clearly state what kind of greater alliance and with whom Deb was hinting at.
Congress leader Abdul Mannan, who too is an advocate of alliance between the CPI-M and Congress in Bengal, welcomed Deb's statement.
"The present situation in Bengal is calling for an alliance between Congress and CPI(M) in order to defeat the misrule of TMC," Mannan said.
The TMC, however, was elated over the frank admission of Deb, but said even a grand alliance would not produce any positive result.
"At last Gautam Deb has understood the truth. It is good that he has said it. But even a grand alliance will not help them defeat us," TMC leader and his namesake Gautam Deb said.