Division in Bengal Congress on anti-TMC stand

Division in Bengal Congress on anti-TMC stand

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee greets supporters during an election rally on the last day of campaigning ahead of the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha polls, in Kolkata, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra) Photo for representation.

Following BJP’s stunning success in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, a section of the state Congress leadership is keen on extending tacit support to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the upcoming Assembly by-elections to keep the saffron party at bay.

According to Congress sources, these party state leaders are of the opinion that the constant attack on the TMC is actually benefiting the BJP as the anti-TMC votes are going to the ruling party at the Centre.

“These state Congress leaders are of the opinion that it is time for the party to reconsider whether the BJP or the TMC is its main enemy. They think that the Congress should extend a tacit support to the TMC to stop the BJP’s advance in Bengal,” a senior state Congress leader said.

State Congress sources further revealed that these party leaders want to use the three upcoming Assembly by-elections as a kind of trial run for this strategy.

The Kharagpur Sadar Assembly seat has fell vacant as the sitting MLA, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh has become an MP. The Karimpur Assembly seat too fell vacant after the sitting TMC MLA Mahua Maitra was elected as an MP. By-election will also be held at the Kaliaganj Assembly segment following the death of Congress MLA Pramatha Nath Roy.

Congress sources said that a section of its leaders are of the opinion that TMC should not field any candidate in the Kharagpur Assembly segment which was won by the Congress in the 2011 Assembly elections before it went to the BJP in the 2016 Assembly polls.

As for the Karimpur and Kaliaganj Assembly segment these leaders think that the Congress and the TMC should not field candidates against each other in the two seats.

Karimpur and Kaliaganj are respectively held by the TMC and the Congress.

However, there are differences within the Congress regarding the strategy. Leaders such as MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and state Congress president Somen Mitra think that the strategy may be counterproductive and being “soft” on the TMC may ultimately benefit the BJP even more.

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