West Bengal: Congress, CPI(M) struggle to stay together

Kolkata, Aug 17: Plagued by defections and infighting, the beleaguered Congress and CPI(M) are finding it difficult to keep their flock together after the Trinamool Congress retained power in West Bengal.

In the last few months since the Assembly poll results were out delivering a thumping majority to the Trinamool Congress, the party managed to take over various opposition-controlled municipalities and panchayats in the state, with Councillors and Panchayat members shifting to the TMC fold from either Congress or Left Front constituents.

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Even two MLAs, one each from Congress and Left Front, have switched over to the TMC last month, bringing down the opposition tally in the state Assembly from 76 to 74 in the 294-member House.

The TMC, which presently has 211 MLAs, however claimed it did not invite anybody to join their fold but those who are willing to be part of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's development process are coming over on their own.

A livid opposition, however, alleged that TMC was using money and muscle power to poach into opposition turf and take away it's legislators.

The helplessness to keep the opposition numbers intact in Assembly and municipality was more glaring in the comment of a senior state Congress leader who said, "What can we do if someone wants to switch over to some other party? Who shall we complain against? There is nobody who is going to listen to us. The TMC is poaching on our MLAs and other leaders by not flouting the nitty gritty of anti-defection law,".

Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan asserted the party along with the CPI(M) will fight this trend politically.

"There is nothing that can be done excepting countering this trend politically. In those municipalities either two-third of the opposition have joined TMC or in case of poaching of MLAs, the legislators having switched over are still officially known as Congress or Left MLAs as they have not resigned from their post," Mannan told PTI.


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