CPI-M to soon decide on electoral deal with Congress in Bengal polls

Agartala, Feb 3: The CPI-M central leadership would decide about the party's electoral alliance with the Congress in the forthcoming West Bengal assembly polls during its three-day politburo and central committee meetings in New Delhi from February 16, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said here on Wednesday.

"The CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) politburo would meet in New Delhi on February 16 before the two-day central committee meeting on February 17-18. These meetings would decide the party's electoral pact with Congress in the ensuing West Bengal assembly elections," Yechury told reporters before leaving here for New Delhi.

WB: CPI to decide on alliance with Cong

He said "The politburo and central committee meetings would finalise the electoral strategies of the CPI-M in the upcoming Bengal elections."

Yechury came here on Tuesday to address a seminar, organised in connection with the centenary celebrations of former Tripura chief minister Dasaratha Deb, a father figure of the communist movement in Tripura.

The two-day West Bengal CPI-M state committee meeting would be held in Kolkata on February 12-13 to finalise the party stand on the alliance with Congress, a senior CPI-M leader said in Kolkata, adding that the state committee's decision would be conveyed to the CPI-M central committee.

The term of the 294-member West Bengal assembly ends on May 29 and elections are likely to be held before that.

A Congress delegation from West Bengal led by State party chief and Lok Sabha member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury met party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on February 1 in New Delhi and discussed the possibility of forging an alliance with the Left Front in the state.

The majority of the Congress leaders in West Bengal, including Chowdhury, favour an electoral alliance with the CPI-M.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi will take a final call on an electoral alliance with the Left parties in West Bengal.

However, three senior West Bengal Congress leaders -- Manas Bhuniya, Deepa Dasmunshi and Abhijit Mukherjee -- advocated that the party go it alone at the hustings.

The Tripura Congress leadership, however, opposed the move to work out an electoral deal with the Congress.

"The Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) led by the party's state chief Birajit Sinha in its recent meeting discussed the issue and decided to strongly oppose the move," state party spokesman Tapas Dey said.

He said: "If the Congress allied with the CPI-M, then the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) would get the electoral benefit both in West Bengal and Tripura. We have communicated our decision to party high command Sonia Gandhi."

Former CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat recently said: "First, let the West Bengal CPI-M state committee come up with concrete proposals then the central committee would take the final decision."

Top CPI-M leaders in West Bengal including former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, and politburo members Surjya Kanta Mishra (currently state party chief and opposition leader) and Mohammad Salim have openly asked the Congress to side with the Left in its battle with the Trinamool.


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