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Trinamool-BJP to launch joint campaign against Left

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, Apr 8 (UNI) Overcoming differences, the Trinamool Congress and BJP has announced to kickstart joint campaigning for the West Bengal Assembly elections taking up under development and endangered democracy as the main plank.

'' Our common aim is to throw the Left Government out of power.

Our issue will revolve around restoration of the people's democratic rights and lack of economic development in the state,'' BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said at a joint press conference with Trinamool leaders yesterday.

Trinamool General Secretary Mukul Roy said his party would contest 253 out of a total 294 seats while the BJP would field candidates in 31 constituencies. The rest ten had been left for different partners of the Gana Front, a conglomerate of 14 smaller parties sharing a common platform with both the NDA partners.

He said a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) had been formed as the basis of the alliance.

Both the parties would start campaign in full swing from April 13 and party chief Mamata Banerjee would address an election rally jointly with Mr Jaitley at Kharagpur the next day.

The Trinamool and the BJP had been engaged in a prolonged tussle over sharing of seats which delayed the process of understanding.

In reply to a question, Mr Jaitley said the BJP would have been happier had it got ''few more and better seats'', but it was hopeful of making a ''respectable entry'' in West Bengal.

Describing as the ''right steps in right direction'' the tough measures taken by the Election Commission, Mr Jaitley observed that the people of the state would be able to vote freely and give a proper verdict if all the decisions were implemented.

''Democracy has always been a casualty in West Bengal with no free and fair elections being held. The EC is trying to stop rigging that the CPI(M) has been doing over the years. If it succeeds then it will be a bad news for the CPI(M),'' he said.

The BJP leader said his party and the Trinamool had appealed to the EC to take certain measures, including posting of central force personnel both inside and outside polling booths and keeping all state government employees away from poll duties.

The BJP also demanded that the six per cent people, still out of the coverage of voters identity card, should be allowed to vote only on the basis of ''strict proof''.

In reply to a question, he blamed the Congress for not participating in the proposed grand opposition alliance and said the party was trying to ''pay back the CPI(M) the debts for the Left support to the UPA government at the centre''.

Reiterating what Ms Mamata Banerjee had declared a few days ago, Senior Trinamool leader Ajit Panja said the alliance would make reservation for minority as one of the election issues.

However, Mr Jaitley evaded a direct reply to a question in this regard saying his party was always in favour of social Justice.


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