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Rahul holds meet to strengthen West Bengal unit

By Oneindia Staff Writer

New Delhi, July 7: Congress president Rahul Gandhi held individual meetings with senior party leaders from West Bengal to hear their views on strengthening the state unit and on the way forward ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year, amid reports of deep fissures in the unit over electoral tie-up.

Rahul Gandhi

The West Bengal unit of the Congress is a divided lot, with one section of the party keen on an alliance with the Trinamool Congress in the upcoming general elections and another favouring a tie-up with the CPI(M), sources said.

The division forced the Congress chief to call all state party leaders to the national capital and give them an individual hearing. The meetings took place at the Rakab Ganj Road office.

Around 40 people attended the meeting and each of their views were heard by Gandhi, they said.

"Rahul Gandhi met each party leader individually and heard their views on how to strengthen the party. Each party leader, including myself, gave him their point of view on the way forward and for strengthening the party in the state," Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, president of West Bengal Congress, said.

"We have told the Congress chief about the ground situation," legislator and AICC secretary Moinul Haque added.

Haque, party insiders said, favours an alliance with the TMC and maintains that it will be suicidal to enter into an alliance with the CPI(M), which has lost base in the state.

Asked about Chowdhury's views favouring an alliance with CPI(M), Haque said: "We have put forth our views. It may have been an ego clash."

Asked what he would do if the party did not ally with the TMC, as suggested by him, Haq said: "Then we will decide after the party decision."

Chaudhary had said the party has to be strengthened first and quitting the party would be a leader's individual choice.

He is inclined to join the TMC along with other MLAs and leaders from the state on July 21, a party source said. Some state Congress leaders decided at a meeting in the state on June 30 that the Congress will be finished if it does not ally with the TMC, they said.

However, Haque denied that he would be joining the TMC.

"We will not quit the Congress and will await the decision of Rahul Gandhi before taking any decision," Haq said.

He said there was no vote transfer to the Congress in the last assembly poll. It will be suicidal to go again with the CPI(M) as in today's situation, the CPI(M) is left with no standing in the state, he said.

Chowdhury said some legislators have already left the party and if some more are inclined to leave, no one can stop them. "Our aim is to strengthen the party and move forward," he said.

Another party leader Deepa Dasmunshi said the legislators have expressed their views and would work towards strengthening West Bengal Congress.

"We have personally discussed the ground situation with our leader. He held discussions with each leader separately and every one expressed their views to him separately," he said.


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