New Delhi, July 6: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday 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 elections next year.
The West Bengal unit of the party 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 within the party 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 party's Rakab Ganj Road office.
"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," said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, president of the West Bengal Congress.
"We have told the Congress chief about the ground situation," legislator and AICC secretary Moinuddin Haq added. Haq, party insiders said, strongly favours an alliance with the Trinamool Congress and maintains that it will be suicidal to enter into an alliance with CPI-M, which has lost its base in the state.
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 have already 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, Haq denied that he would be joining the TMC. 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 earlier said the party has to be strengthened first and quitting the party would be a leader's individual choice.