Rahul to meet Bengal Congress leaders on July 6

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Kolkata, July 2 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi will meet senior party leaders from West Bengal in Delhi on July 6, state party chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said here on Monday.

He however refused to comment on whether there would be discussions on a possible alliance with the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress in the 2019 General Elections, but said the party’s current condition in the eastern state might figure.

“The office of Rahul Gandhi has intimated the senior Congress leaders from Bengal to be present in the party headquarters in Delhi at 11 a.m. on July 6. The meeting will be conducted by Rahul Gandhi himself,” Chowdhury said.

“I am not certain about the agenda of the meeting, but we can expect that since he has only called leaders from Bengal, there would be discussions about party’s current condition in Bengal. I have suggested his office invite all the current and former Congress MLAs and MPs from the state in the meeting along with the other senior leaders of the party,” he said.

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Chowdhury said he was asked by the party high command to convey the message to the senior state leaders, but requested the party President’s office to send the message themselves, as a direct message from Gandhi would carry more weight.

“There has been no suggestion from the Congress high command regarding joining hands with the Trinamool yet. But if Rahul ji suggests that, then I will brief him about the condition here and we will proceed accordingly,” he said.

Chowdhury, who has previously opposed any alliance with the state’s ruling party as it would be disastrous for Congress in Bengal, said it was more important to strengthen the party infrastructure here.

He said the party’s alliance with the Left in the last assembly polls created a lot of enthusiasm among the grassroot level activists.

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“Personally I have always thought it is more important to strengthen the party infrastructure here. I have been striving hard for the consolidation of Congress in Bengal since the last two years.

“We fought the last assembly election aligning with the Left. It was approved by the AICC and there was a significant response among the grassroot level workers over the alliance. We managed to win 44 seats which means our strike rate was 47 percent,” he said.

In the past two years, the party has lost 11 of its MLAs to the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool while four more MLAs recently held talks with the ruling party last week.

Referring to Congress’ erosion over the last two years, Chowdhury accused Banerjee and her party of trying to destroy Congress in Bengal.

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“The fundamental problem is Bengal’s ruling party and especially the Chief Minister is hell-bent on demolishing Congress here. So they are resorting to several means starting from intimidation to allurement targeting the state Congress leaders and activists so that they discard Congress,” he alleged.

“Some MLAs even told me they can no longer bear the pressure put by the ruling party.. So these leaders are also being allured by Trinamool and think that joining the state ruling party would provide them a greener pasture in the near future,” he added.

–IANS

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