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Amid divisions over alliance, West Bengal Congress leaders meet Rahul

New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi met party leaders from West Bengal on Friday amid divisions in the state unit over allying with the Left or Trinamool Congress for the Lok Sabha polls next year and reports that some more party MLAs could defect to the ruling Trinamool.

Informed sources said 41 leaders from the state, including MLAs, MPs, former MPs and chiefs of frontal organisations, met Gandhi and expressed their opinions.

Apart from state unit chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, those who met Gandhi included party MP Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, former MPs Deepa Dasmunsi and Somen Mitra and party MLA Mainul Haque.

While a sizeable section of the party, which includes Chowdhary and Dasmunsi, favours joining hands with the Left parties, there are also leaders who feel that allying with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool will be more beneficial for the Congress.

Haque, who is also an AICC secretary, said he told Gandhi that Congress should join hands with Trinamool.

“I told him that Congress should tie up with the Trinamool. It will benefit both Trinamool and the Congress since both are fighting the BJP. We had an alliance with the Left parties in the 2016 assembly polls and seen its result. There is no future of the Left parties in West Bengal,” he said.

Haque, who had earlier indicated that he could join the Trinamool, said on Friday that he will wait till a final decision is taken by the party.

He said that organisational issues and roles of party leaders in preparations for Lok Sabha elections were discussed.

Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury is also learnt to be backing an alliance with Trinamool.

Mitra, who is a former state unit chief, said Gandhi posed queries on organisational issues.

“He took everyone’s opinion. My opinion is that for immediate gain, we should go with Trinamool but for long-term gains we should ultimately ally with the Left.”

The Congress leadership is expected to take a long-term view of its prospects before taking a final decision on allying with the Left or the Trinamool. It is also expected to look at the situation from the perspective of broader opposition unity in its larger aim to defeat the BJP in 2019.

Congress has seen defections to the Trinamool and there are reports that some more party MLAs could join it later this month.

Those opposed to alliance with Trinamool also say that Congress has suffered in the past due to such a pact and the ruling party has paved the way for BJP’s growth in the state.



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