Confusion in Bengal Cong over alliance with Left

West Bengal Pradesh Congress President Somen Mitra with former president Pranab Mukherjee during Kali Puja in Kolkata. PTI

The Congress' dilemma over whether to get into an alliance over the Trinamool Congress (TMC) or the CPM-led Left Front in West Bengal seems to be far from over.

After a meeting with Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi, State Congress president Somen Mitra revealed on Saturday that there is confusion in the Bengal Congress over alliance with the Left front.

"There is some confusion within our party over an alliance with the Left Front in Bengal. We need to resolve it. I have told Rahul Gandhi to discuss the issue with senior state leaders and then decide," said Mitra.

He was speaking to reporters after a meeting of state Congress presidents with Rahul in New Delhi.

Congress sources told DH that the confusion regarding an alliance with the Left Front has its roots in the party's demand that the CPM give it the two Lok Sabha seats, namely Raiganj in North Dinajpur district and the Murshidabad Lok Sabha seat in Murshidabad district.

The CPM won both the seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

"CPM has not yet agreed to give us the two seats since they won the seats last time. However, our leadership is of the opinion that we have a good chance of winning the two seats. While in 2014 our candidate lost by a narrow margin in Raiganj, we have strong organisation in Murshidabad," said a senior State Congress leader.

As for the prospect of alliance with TMC, Mitra said that Rahul has told the state leadership to take a call on the matter.  

Mitra said that they have once again made it clear to the party president that they do not want any alliance with TMC. He had earlier said it is the party high command that takes the final call on the matter.

"Rahul Gandhi told us to decide whether to get into an alliance in Bengal. We told him that in Bengal neither Congress leaders nor workers want alliance with TMC. I told him that if we get into an alliance with TMC, they will destroy our party," Mitra said.

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