Bengal Congress to urge Rahul to skip TMC rally

Congress President Rahul Gandhi. PTI File Photo

The acrimony between the West Bengal leadership of Congress and the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) once again came to the fore as the state Congress leadership has decided to urge party president Rahul Gandhi not to accept Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s invitation to attend TMC’s mega rally in January.

Congress sources told DH that the state leadership is scheduled to meet Rahul Gandhi on December 20 and there they will request the party president to turn down Banerjee’s invitation. The rally is being seen as the Chief Minister’s effort to cobble up a pan-India anti-BJP front. 
“If Rahul Gandhi attends the TMC rally, it will put the state Congress in an awkward situation as an opposition party in Bengal. If our party president attends the TMC rally, they (TMC) will use it to claim that they have the support of our central leadership,” a senior state Congress leader said. 
Earlier the state Congress leadership has said AICC will take a call on attending TMC’s rally upon consultation with the Bengal unit. State Congress president Somen Mitra has made it clear that his party is averse to any kind of alliance with TMC in the next Lok Sabha elections. They also accused the ruling party in Bengal of engineering defection in Congress. Ever since TMC came to power in Bengal in 2011 several Congress MLAs have publicly expressed support for TMC. 
Congress sources revealed that they will also remind the party president of how TMC sent a relatively unknown leader Nadimul Haque, TMC MP to recent protests in Delhi led by Congress regarding the Rafael deal. 
“ In case the party High Command decides to send a representative to  TMC’s rally, we will urge them not to send a front-line leader but a rather junior party leader,” Congress sources said.
The state Congress is also planning to facilitate the three new Congress Chief Ministers and bring them to Bengal to address party rallies. 
“During the swearing-in ceremony of the new Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot we made the suggestion to Rahul Gandhi. He said he will look into it,” senior Congress MLA and Leader of the Congress Legislative party in the state Assembly Abdul Mannan said. 

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