Left refused ‘open-alliance’: Bengal Congress

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Kolkata, March 18 (IANS) Veteran Congress leader Abdul Mannan on Monday said seat adjustment talks with the Left Front in West Bengal have collapsed due to the Left parties’ refusal to hold an “open alliance” with them.

Criticising the Left leaders who were in-charge of the alliance talks with Congress, Mannan said it was “unfortunate” that possibility of forming a strong anti-BJP, anti-Trinamool platform in the state did not work out due to their arrogance.

“It is unfortunate that we could not fight jointly with the Left front in Bengal in the coming 2019 polls due to the arrogance of certain Left leaders who were in-charge of the alliance talks,” said Mannan, leader of Opposition in West Bengal.

“We wanted to form a strong alliance to provide people a powerful anti-BJP, anti-Trinamool platform. We are fighting against the BJP across the country. But their (Left) party leaders in Bengal gave statements that there will be no open alliance but only seat-sharing between the two parties. They refused to hold joint campaigns, joint meetings or share the dais with Congress leaders. What kind of alliance would that be?” he asked.

Mannan said the initial impasse over six seats, which were won by the Left and Congress in the last general election, was sorted by the intervention of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who persuaded the state Congress leadership not to field any candidates in the two Lok Sabha seats held by the CPI-M.

“We wanted an open alliance so that all the workers of the two parties can work together. But they refused. There is no point trying to fool people. If we go for a secret alliance, people will think of us as the biggest fraud,” he said.

Referring to the initial list of 25 Lok Sabha candidates by the Left Front, Mannan alleged that his party was not allowed to field any candidate in six north Bengal districts.

He said the lack of party activity in such a vast region before the elections would increase the risk of their party workers and leaders migrating to Trinamool Congress or BJP.

“In their seat adjustment proposal, we did not have the option to field any candidate in six north Bengal districts. They also refused to hold joint meetings where we would not have candidates. What would our party workers do in these places?” the Congress leader asked.

“We have ample support base in north Bengal. Congress has seven MLAs in the six north Bengal districts. What would we tell them? There is a chance that our workers in these areas will shift to Trinamool or BJP,” he added.

–IANS

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